Creating an apostolic community will challenge our existing thinking and current structures of ministry. The mission of the Church is big and requires big thinkers. An apostolic leader will disrupt comfort levels. They gather around mission instead of preferences. They help differentiate between the essentials and non-essentials.
Historically, movements have gathered and formed around a common theology or a shared experience. Over time pitfalls will be encountered and unless they are challenged and corrected they will keep living and working in the same rut producing the same results. Here are a few of those pitfalls:
– We protect the past at the expense of the future.
– We take ownership instead of stewardship.
– We only gather around us people who think the same way we think.
– We build defensive systems to protect our group against any challenge.
– We shut out new ways of thinking, new personnel and new vision.
– We fail to institute systems that honestly evaluate our effectiveness.
– We ignore the real issues and carry on with business as usual.
What makes this organizational shift toward an apostolic environment so difficult? It becomes difficult when we define how we do church as something sacred and immovable. At that point, we see any challenge to our self-defined sacredness as a threat or a compromise.
These challenges are either marginalized or eliminated from the discussion and, as a result, we stop moving forward. We are afraid our religious apple cart will be upended if change is allowed to take the wheel. The very message God wants to deliver might be brought by a person or an idea we consider threatening. Subsequently, the potential of something new is dismissed from our discussion or in some cases, from our community of fellowship.
We are deceived if we think we don’t need to continually change and reform. A shift requires personal assessments and adjustments in our beliefs and our thinking. These changes never toss out our core beliefs. The process simplifies our thinking and keeps us mobile instead of becoming entrenched in a partial understanding of a much larger truth. These corrections and adjustments will change the lens through which we see our friendship with God. With a more mature love, we will be able to live a simple faith that has the ability to transform culture because it first transformed us.
(This excerpt was taken from chapter four of my new book, The Sound of Reformation. (Released date, mid-July)