Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thoughts on Denominations

I pulled this from Ed Stetzer's blog. I want people to know that there are members of our state convention that are listening and doing some of the very things that Ed is promoting:
Ed Stetzer and David Putman's advice to denominations (from Breaking the Missional Code):

Cast a vision for a new tomorrow. Denominational agencies for the most part have a unique vantage point from which to see the world. Often, those of us who are in the church can be too close to the trees to see the forest. At other times, we are too close to the forest to see the trees. Denominational agencies can serve a vital role in keeping us informed of our progress in regard to reaching the many unreached people living in North America. Someone has to monitor the pulse if we are going to make a difference. Casting vision and informing that vision with real time research is essential to our future.

Lift up apostolic heroes. Denominational agencies can continue to tell the story of real apostolic heroes...

Conduct relevant research. Few churches are equipped to do the kind of research required to break the code. Sure, some of it is intuitive and other aspects are simply Holy Spirit-led. But how do we begin to see the need and develop a holistic strategy for discipling an entire city or region? Who and where are the hidden people? How do we reach them? If we do not know, where do we begin? What do we do with our new findings? How do we communicate with others coming behind us? Denominational agencies can come alongside these apostolic leaders and ministries and help provide good research.

Supplement the local church in equipping apostolic leaders...

Network learning communities and reporting results...

Provide financial resources for apostolic leaders...

Help leaders move beyond their own ethnic, economic model or other ghetto...
(pp. 176-79)

Denominations can help bridge the gaps, bringing different kinds of leaders together for kingdom impact.

Denominations are in a challenging time right now... and I believe things will get worse for denominations before they get better. However, I believe the best denominational partnerships are yet to come when denominations get re-focused on serving churches and helping them fulfill the Great Commission. Lyle Shaller explains that denominations will thrive when they ask churches, "How can we help you fulfill the Great Commission?" Schaller says that our ultimate goal is a "customized evangelistic strategy" for every church. (pg. 179)

The bottom line is that churches are pointing to a different future. Denominations need to serve churches to accomplish their mission. The "customers" of every denomination are its churches and church leaders. The mission of every denomination is to help churches accomplish what God has called them to do. Denominations matter because they don't have to amount to a splintering of the church, but can be a means of unifying churches around gospel and mission.

When denominations are focused on churches, churches will network with them and other partnerships for kingdom impact.

No comments: