< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="krusekronicle.typepad.com" > Kruse Kronicle: Church at the Speed of Life

Friday, June 03, 2005

Church at the Speed of Life

There has been a convenience store advertisement on the radio in our area that talks about service at the speed of life. One of the most profound developments in the past century, as suggested in my last post, is the increasing rate and magnitude of change. How does the church keep moving at the speed of life?

Erwin Manus in "An Unstoppable Force," uses a scientific formula as his way of helping us understand how we keep momentum at the speed of life:

momentum = mass * velocity

Mass is the people and velocity is the vision, within the church. Get a whole bunch of folks together with no real vision and you get motionless mass. Get one or a few folks with vision that does not permeate the mass and you get velocity with little mass. Either way, no momentum.

A congregation turned inward, and away from surrounding culture, becomes inert mass. Most people in churches now realize that change is inevitable. Some choose not to change because they would rather die with the old ways. These congregations will die from no velocity.

However, those churches that chose to change often experience another problem. HOW to be relevant to the culture? As soon as an understanding of the culture is grasped and programming begins, it is already out of date. The plan keeps changing so quickly that vision never really takes root. The culture ends up setting the agenda for the church. Most people become discouraged or confused. The idea to connect with culture is there, but the mass is not infused with common vision, people drift away, and the congregation dies from insufficient mass.

Mcmanus argues that the critical error is in focusing on the culture. The church can't keep up. Instead of turning inward OR outward we should be looking upward to God. The mission of every church should be nuture people in ever deepening relationship with Jesus and his earthly body. We are drawn inward into community and empowered outward into service by the power of the Spirit.

This is not an admonition against examining our inward and outward life as the body of Christ. It is an admonition against obsession with either aspect to the exclusion of developing ever maturing disciples of Jesus.


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