Agenda-less fellowship and youth ministry

Agenda-less fellowship. It’s a phrase that’s been stuck in my head recently. I’m not sure whether it’s from God or not. But I’m feeling a sense that I’m supposed to stand up for it. I’ve read a lot of books about church health which say that the way to be successful as a church is to develop a clear sense of purpose and cut every program from your church that doesn’t support that purpose. But I’m not sure that squares with the way that we see Jesus interacting with people. Continue reading

Why suburbia is bad for the kingdom: a response to Mere Orthodoxy

Postmodern thinkers sometimes settle for deconstructing the motives of their critics instead of making defensible arguments. Unfortunately, a recent Mere Orthodoxy piece exhibited this behavior, promising to explain why the American suburbs are a good, wholesome place, but focusing its energy on developing a caricature of suburbia’s critics as “urban gentry and intelligentsia.” I’ve used that rhetorical trick before: Bob criticizes X; Bob is a snobby aristocrat; therefore everyone who criticizes X is a snobby aristocrat. Well, I’m not an urban gentry. I’m a suburban pastor. And there are things about the suburbia where I live that hinder people from entering the kingdom of God. Continue reading

Imagine church without celebrity

I found an article today that gave me a lot of hope. It listed the 12 defining qualities of an underground Christian movement in Asia, which offered a refreshingly different paradigm for doing church than building a cult of personality around a tenacious, charismatic, good-looking thirty-something white male church planter guy (which is the model that I’ve assumed that I’m supposed to follow even though I’m not charismatic or good-looking). Apparently this movement is kind of like a house church movement, except that there aren’t specific meeting times so much as a continual daily rhythm of worship and study. And there are no celebrities. They don’t convene in a big stadium to get their marching orders from the catalyst leader. They don’t even use Hillsong for their worship pieces. Imagine what church would be like if it really were people on the margins organically discovering Christ together without any rock stars or brand names. Check out this article. It gave me a lot to think about.