It does not follow. I have only been back in the U.S. for a few months after living overseas for some time. Coming back there are a number of things that I continue to scratch my head about and try to reconcile how emphasis in these areas is consistent with the sending of God–Missio Dei. Aware of how prone church in some parts of the world is to take its cues from U.S. church, I feel it is important that the U.S. church at least be aware of these…. By way of disclaimer, I am not writing that each of the below items are bad things. However, I am writing….
Here are five things that may not serve as expressions of the “sending of God.” While the list these come from is longer, I thought it wise to pause here for the time being. And yes, the sequitur will follow. (smile)
- Naming of a church and the marketing mix – I am amazed to see several individuals, organizations, and churches spending so much energy and money seeking to determine what is the best name for a church. Is it marketable? Is it clever? How will the community receive the name? Does it appeal to our target audience? What logo can we design around it? What should our (corporate) colors be? While “a good name is more desirable than great riches,” I’m not entirely certain this Proverb refers to the church. Is the church name to be: 1) descriptive of the sending of God; 2) a tool to bring people to God; or 3) nomenclature of the people that are being sent out that bear the image of God?
- Style of worship – This seems to be one of the biggest debates over the past several years. Really I think the debate is about issues much bigger than just the style of music. I also think it is about bigger issues than the style of preaching. But is the debate as important as we have made it? How does this music or that music / this preaching or that preaching correspond to the sending of God? What place of preeminence should this topic hold in “as you go make disciples?”
- Buildings and campus(es) – As a pseudo-foreigner, the message I am receiving is: a (church) building is good; a campus is better; multiple campuses are the best. Does this follow with the sending of God? I’m not saying, I’m just saying. I do see an outlier effect here, but that is for another post on another day.
- Sermons for sale – Really? If that were to happen then I would think it would be time to be thinking about a Great Commission resurgence.
- Numbers – Is the staff office covered with numbers or names of those the staff is pleading for? If staff are hired or fired based on their output of numbers, what do we do with proven servants of God? Are we craving efficiency or an anointing? Would a church today hire Jeremiah?