Mike and Leslie openly share their journey of transitioning out of "church-as-we-know-it" and into "church-as-God-wants-it" in a recent fascinating blog post entitled I kissed traditional pastoral ministry good-bye: an explanation of why I am leaving pastoral ministry for the sake of mission in the future.
I sense from past comments and private emails there are a few of you reading that are also going through the same journey Mike and Leslie have gone through.
I am reprinting the questions that led them to this decision. PLEASE click the link above to read in their own words the ANSWERS discovered to these questions that led them to make these huge life changes.
1.) What IS “church” anyhow?Care to share your own understandings of any of the above questions? Which of the above caused you to most ponder?
2.) If Jesus were in bodily form now in the Bay Area, where would he be? To whom would He minister? And how would he spend his time? And shouldn’t ALL CHURCHES take note of this? What would it look like to take Luke 15’s Lost Parables seriously? Would Jesus really leave the 99 for the one lost sheep, or was he just being hyperbolic? Did he really come to “seek and save the lost”?
3.) Shouldn’t my primary role be not so much teaching, preaching, and TELLING people how they should live but, instead, living out, modeling and SHOWING people the way of Jesus? Incarnating the very thing I’m asking them to do and being a forerunner or a “first fruit” of the transformation God is wanting to do among us?
4.) As much as people in my church appreciated me and believed that I should be paid for what I did, should I be? And does the Scripture teach that I should be paid as a norm or more an exception?
5.) If Ephesians 4:11-12 is to be taken seriously, then what would it look like to have ALL FIVE gifts operational in the church: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist. Pastor, and Teacher? And can we push past our knee-jerk reactions to what an Apostle or Prophet may be that are simply based on ignorance or fear? In particular, Leslie and I have spent the last three years asking what apostolic and prophetic leadership in the body of Christ is and does.
6.) Is CHURCH even the primary lens we should be using to filter in all Christian and ministry reality? Shouldn’t it, instead, be Kingdom? And what happens when one makes this shift? So what would it look like then if every believer lived for the Kingdom (or as Matthew 6:33 said, “sought first the Kingdom”? What would it look like then if every spiritual community lived under the rules/government of the Kingdom and cared more for the King/Kingdom than for church as they know it?
7.) This difference in approach gets at the final question we wrestled with: is the difference between secular and sacred as big as we really have come to believe?
8.) SINCE it is no longer about CHURCH as we know it, what would it look like if the boundary markers of “church” were not the four walls of the church building or small group hosting house’s four walls? What would it look like if the boundary markers for who we are to make disciples of and spent most of our time with moved beyond the Christians we would normally meet in “church” as we used to know it. What if, instead, “CHURCH” included all the local people of the city and beyond? What if the CITY or REGION itself was the “church” or “parish” to which all Christ-following members were to “minister”? What if the whole world was the “parish”? And what if we could create multiple sanctified-secular expressions that brought the Kingdom to everywhere and everything we did?