Blogger Small Group :: Thoughts on James 1:1

29 04 2008



“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:”

James knew his audience. He wrote to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations. How many time do we as Christians and, more specifically church leaders, take the shotgun approach to our ministry? We try our best to appease everyone and, in so doing, reach no one! We sprinkle our services with a little bit of this and a little bit of that like sugar coating on a cake. We attempt to satisfy all age groups and personalities; is it any wonder that we come off sounding like a politician running for office?

James took a different approach. He narrowed is focus like a laser pinpointing its target. He spoke to the lost nation of Israel.

Dialogue Church is different. It’s not designed to reach everyone. We have no expectation that the masses will come running. We are perfectly fine with the fact that Christians will be more comfortable in more traditional churches. We aren’t targeting them. We believe that the Traditional Christian Church has become experts at reaching Christians for Christ. We are reaching to a new generation—an emerging culture. We are listening to those who are asking questions. We are journeying with those on a spiritual pilgrimage. We connect with others as artist finding beauty in the chaos and doubts. We are convinced that we have much to learn and so we invite others to ‘join the conversation’.

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12 responses

29 04 2008
vagabondrunn

Hey thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I love this line: “He narrowed is focus like a laser pinpointing its target. ” Wow, how many times are we afraid to do that? We’re so afraid that someone will offended so we ignore the calling of God, and instill part God and part us. The only recipe for truth and victory is 100% God. Not even “more cowbell” will help us.

Don’t forget to link back over to Vagabond for easy surfing from site to site in the small group.

http://www.vagabondrunn.wordpress.com

29 04 2008
rjschaefer

how do i link back? just put a link in the text of my post?

29 04 2008
Anonymous

You said – “We believe that the Traditional Christian Church has become experts at reaching Christians for Christ.”

By the way you write, you make the so-called traditional church sound useless.

Your comment is borderline venomous. Don’t discount the foundation. Without it, everything built “above” crumbles and falls.

29 04 2008
rjschaefer

The foundation we build on is the Word of God and Orthodox Christianity, not the modern church. No venomous tone was intended.

29 04 2008
vagabondrunn

I don’t believe he was discounting the traditional church, as much as he was saying that there is a purpose for the traditional church, yet there is also just as big of a purpose for a church that is specific on reaching and the passion for the unchurched.

There is a great need for the foundation. As a church that is primarily targetting the unchurch, Dialogue will desperately lean on the “traditional” church. However, we cannot forget that today is different than yesterday, so to reach someone today you can’t do what worked yesterday, you have to rethink, reform, refine, and dig up old truths that have been forgotten and put them into place.

Thanks for your input Anon. Good discussions is what builds his Kingdom’s strength.

One thought/question, why be anonymous? Just wondered. I love knowing who I’m discussing with.

http://www.vagabondrunn.wordpress.com

29 04 2008
rjschaefer

Well said Vagabondrunn! That’s what i wanted to say.

29 04 2008
Jen

I didn’t get “venomous tone” from what you wrote either. I think there areas where traditional churches are able to meet all the needs of the people they serve. However, not every area is like that. In some places traditional methods aren’t working to meet the needs represented.

I think there’s room in God’s Kingdom for a new thing. But I also suspect that it will make a lot of “traditional church” folk nervous…

29 04 2008
Jason

I am one who is trying to bring about change from within the “traditional” church. Sometimes I feel the language of those outside the bounds of the traditional church, while not venomous, does contain a somewhat harsh tone towards the Church. Let’s face it, many of us would not be in this journey if it weren’t for some form of the traditional church. My only fear is that when people make blanket statements/generalizations about the “traditional” or “modern” church it gives them impression that no “traditional” or “modern” church is reaching the unchurched. That’s a point I would probably argue, as there are many “modern” churches doing amazing outreach and bringing loads of unchurched folks into a beautiful relationship with Christ. However, I do applaud your heart and desire to reach out in new and creative ways.

29 04 2008
rjschaefer

You are right, Jason. Not all “traditional” churches are doing a poor job reaching the unchurched. I did use the term “traditional church” as a generalization, and as a generalization I believe it is valid. Thankfully many traditional churches are breaking the mold. The question then, is “are they still a traditional church?” Traditional, in my humble opinion, is not a statement of style or approach, but of mindset and purpose.

I also worked to bring change from within for many years. I’ve been on staff at some great churches and have built relationships with many incredible people. I guess, in some way, wouldn’t be here without the traditional church myself–that’s where I developed my passion to do things differently.

16 05 2008
Greg G.

wow..
my traditional church reaches out to nonbelievers and believers. because we both need that love. is that against the norm or something? I thought churches were always about sharing the good news with others…eh thats what the Bible said anyways. and i mean…a church is a sanctuary for everyone. hasn’t it always been like that?

16 05 2008
Anonymous

Good point, Greg. Church is supposed to be a sanctuary for all. What concerns me about this “emergent church” movement is that it comes across very much as an “us” against “them” (traditional church) approach, and then we become divisive.

Dialogue – as in talking things through with others, “doing life together” – is great. But that can’t be all there is.

I see no “anchor” in the emergent church. I see concept without lasting substance and it worries me greatly.

I’m all for doing things differently as situations merit. We are not all going to be reached by the same types of ministry….but neither are we going to be separated by denominations or lack thereof in heaven.

17 05 2008
rjschaefer

Great conversation! I appreciate everyones thoughts and feedback.

Greg, you and your community are lucky to have such a great church. My dream is that the church recapture that calling! I believe that an honest evaluation of the church today reveals that we are not living that dream (read the book “unChristian” for some great research by the Barna Group). It is so easy to lose touch with the world around us–and not even realize it. But the world knows it and it is reflected in their thoughts and feelings about us–the church. Regardless of our intentions, when the message that the world hears and the impression that they feel is completely out of alignment with the character of Christ, we have a problem.

Dialogue Church is taking that problem seriously.

I guess that is the heart of who we are. It’s not that we employ different methods or tactics. It is that we are free to question, to dream, and to wonder. It is sad that in some churches to question a tactic or belief is seen as an attack. Believe me, in no way was anything that I said meant to be an attack on “traditional churches”! I love all churches, and appreciate the opportunity to fight along side of them and build the kingdom of God.

At Dialogue Church you can question and we won’t take offense. You can offer your opinion, and we will be challenged and inspired by your viewpoint. You can disagree, and we can still go out for coffee. You can vote however your conscience dictates, and we won’t condemn you. You are free to be you. You are free to rethink.

Thanks for your comments, and keep them coming! This is exactly what Dialogue is about. Welcome to the conversation!

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