Friday, August 15, 2008

An Interesting Exercise Would Be

A comparison of
In Short:
Bishop Schnase's Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
  • Radical Hospitality
  • Passionate Worship
  • Intentional Faith Development
  • Risk-Taking Mission and Service
  • Extravagant Generosity
Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life
  • We were planned for God’s pleasure, so your first purpose is to offer real worship.
  • We were formed for God’s family, so your second purpose is to enjoy real fellowship.
  • We were created to become like Christ, so your third purpose is to learn real discipleship.
  • We were shaped for serving God, so your fourth purpose is to practice real ministry.
  • We were made for a mission, so your fifth purpose is to live out real evangelism.
Scott McKnight's Five Streams of the Emerging Church
  • Prophetic Rhetoric
  • Postmodern
  • Praxis-Oriented
    • Intentional Worship
    • Orthopraxy (right living)
    • Missional
  • Post-evangelical
    • Post-systematic Theology
    • In vs. Out
  • Politically Active

Gibb's and Bolger's 9 Core practices
  • 1. Identifying with Jesus (and his way of life)
  • 2. Transforming secular space (overcoming the secular/sacred split)
  • 3. Living as community (not strangers in proximity at a church service)
  • 4. Welcoming the stranger (radical and gentle hospitality that is inclusive)
  • 5. Serving with generosity (not serving the institution called "church," but people)
  • 6. Participating as producers (not widgets in the church program)
  • 7. Creating as created beings (this is a great chapter!)
  • 8. Leading as a body (beyond control and the CEO model of leadership)
  • 9. Merging ancient and contemporary spiritualities.
John Wesley's Holiness of Heart and Life
  • Deepen your Christian walk in word and deed.
  • Follow John Wesley's disciplines of prayer, Bible study, and fasting.
  • Discover the roots of mission, spirituality, and justice.
  • Act with Wesley on issues of poverty, slavery, substance abuse, education of children, women's leadership.

I don't think it's so odd that these lists have strong similarities. After all, we all follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. I do find it interesting that there are tensions -- there are places were some of us are comfortable; and places some of us are not. For instance, I am not very political yet I am very sharply attuned to issues of social justice; I just don't express them politically. Some people are very political and have no problems expressing themselves that way.

Another difference: Some deal more with the structure, some with the individual. I tend to deal with the individual; I believe in building a church by making each of the building blocks (the members of that church) as strong as possible. I do have a "big picture" in mind -- I just tend to focus on the blocks rather than the over-arching design. That makes for a rather "organic" church growth. I strongly believe that is the way Jesus would want me to do it -- he also tended to deal with people and relationships rather than large group structures. However, there are those who would examine the design of the entire structure first and then attend to the building blocks. Which is the better way? Can it be that BOTH ways are needed?

Some believe one way and others believe otherwise -- different strokes for different folks. Wesley believed in true spiritual worship -- that worship is the origin of all that we need to gain. It begins with the means of grace and it begins with prayer: The chief of these means are prayer, whether in secret or with the great congregation; searching the Scriptures (which implies reading, hearing, and meditating thereon); and receiving the Lord's Supper, eating bread and drinking wine in remembrance of Him: And these we believe to be ordained of God, as the ordinary channels of conveying his grace to the souls of men. (Sermon 16, The Means of Grace.) Prayer in the great congregation and Lord's Supper are done in corporate worship. He says also:
You cannot find your long-sought happiness in all the pleasures of the world. Are they not "deceitful upon the weights?" Are they not lighter than vanity itself? How long will ye "feed upon that which is not bread?" -- which may amuse, but cannot satisfy? You cannot find it in the religion of the world; either in opinions or a mere round of outward duties. Vain labour! Is not God a spirit, and therefore to be "worshipped in spirit and in truth?" In this alone can you find the happiness you seek; in the union of your spirit with the Father of spirits; in the knowledge and love of Him who is the fountain of happiness, sufficient for all the souls he has made. (Sermon 77, Spiritual Worship)
I tend to agree with Rev. Wesley. For me, it's all about true and intentional worship of God -- both individual and corporate. This is my personal beginning spot; my origin. For others, it's different. I find it interesting that Bishop Schnase starts with Radical Hospitality -- greeting the stranger to dwell among us. Interesting too that Bishop Schnase self-identifies as an Introvert and I as an Extrovert -- wouldn't you think he would start with Worship and I start with Hospitality, since Worship seems more of an introverted activity and Hospitality more of an extroverted? Perhaps we do not start where we are most comfortable, where we already get our batteries charged; perhaps we start with something we need the most.

Things to ponder on a Friday morning.

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