Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mixing the Generations

During our Little Rock Network Gathering (for AMiA) last week, we had a day with Reggie McNeil who spoke on the subject of becoming a missional church. He spoke under three main topics;

(i) Shifting form Internal to External focus

(ii) Shifting from Program-Driven to People Development

(iii) Shifting from Church-based Leadership to Apostolic Leadership (unfortunately he only had a brief amount of time on this topic which, for the clergy present, is the most pressing issue).

In speaking about People Development, Reggie took a brief look at the 6 different generations currently co-existing in our culture (for the first time), and gave some reflections on each one. It was interesting to hear this (albeit not for the first time for me), and consider what this might mean for our life together as the bod of Christ. The years represented are only a general guideline and in reality there is probably some degree of overlap. Neither would I say that everybody would neatly fall into their respective category. Having said that, there is a good deal of truth (from my experience) in these distinctions.

1. SENIORS (born before 1925)
- not much to say about these other than that they are old

2. BUILDERS (born 1926-45) ... 60% have specific church 'affiliation'
- this is the generation that typically has the most trouble with change
- diversity (of church expression) is not particularly valued by this generation
- many are dealing with grief over loss of culture
- need to help builders change conversation from 'loss' to 'legacy'

3. BOOMERS (born 1946-64) ... 42% have specific church 'affiliation'
- experience and economy significant to this group
- have not been mentored by older generation, did not really desire or seek this
- needs to be fun and work

4. GEN-XERS (born 1965-83) ... 18-22% have specific church 'affiliation'
- value authenticity and relationships
- not career-minded people
- created and shaped their lives to revolve around friends (hence the TV show)
- some are beginning to simplify their lives
- start asking for mentors
- life coaching is real appealing to this group (life skills)

5. MILLENIALS (born 1984-01) ... less than 10% have specific church 'affiliation'
- this is the first digital generation
- non-institutional orientation
- high sense of self-esteem
- believe they can change the world - one person at a time
- sincere sense of responsibility for the world/environment
- high level (paradoxically) of drug-dependence and depression

6. NEXTERS (born 2002-)
- bit too young to know yet!

One of the thoughts that occurred to me, or really reinforced something that I have been aware of for some time as it relates to what the Lord is doing among us here at BridgePoint, is the importance and desire for mentors among our young people. We must see a greater inter-mingling of the generations than we have been used to in the church. Some people already see this and are involving themselves in the lives of younger people. Others are finding that harder and wondering sometimes what their role is. I would encourage all who have that extra life experience and story to tell, to seek for ways to get involved with some of our younger people. This is the biblical model, but this is also the cry of a younger generation also. I would say that you are never too old to be involved, it just takes a heart for the people. If anyone wants some more guidance on this, please let me know.

Grace and peace,

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Forty Trends back to Simplicity

Rethinking the Nature and Function of Church

By Robert Fitts

1. From the sanctuaries to the streets. (Doing the works of Jesus wherever we find a need)

2. From Christianity to Christ. (Not a philosophy or a system, but Christ in you!)

3. From church houses to house churches. (Simplify to multiply)

4. From upward to outward growth. (Plan to have a church split! You’ll be blessed!)

5. From paid pastors to common, ordinary tentmakers. (Rejecting the clergy/laity system)

6. From a special priesthood to a priesthood of all believers (All are ministers & preachers)

7. From hierarchy to servant leaders. (The great ones are those who wash feet)

8. From weekly worship to constant worship. (Worship is more than singing. Rom. 12:1-2)

9. From bringing people to church to bringing church to people. (A life changing prayer) *

10. From symbolism to substance in the Lord's Supper (Take it often. Take it with a meal)

11. From denominations to Spirit-led networks (Identify with the whole Body of Christ)

12. From social respectability to salt and light. (Turn the world upside down. It needs it!)

13. From performance by professionals to I Cor. 14:26 meetings. (Everyone has something to share)

14. From program based to home based church.

15. From the seminary system to the apprentice system.. (Two Timothy Two Two)

16. From tenth to total in our giving. (When generosity is encouraged, reward is promised. Ck. it out!)

17. From selective submission to total submission. (To every authority, everywhere, all the time)

18. From titles to function. Call no man teacher, father, Rabbi. (What about "Paul, an apostle"?)

19. From independence to inter-dependence (Embrace the city-wide church)

20. From paper membership to Body membership (We ARE members one of another, already!)

21. From the wheel to the vine (Releasing teams to plant simple churches in homes all over town)

22. From organizational unity to spiritual unity. (There is only one step to unity - Rom. 14:1, 15:7)

23. From Safeway or Circle K to Safeway and Circle K. (Receive everything that God receives.)

24. From "Us and them" to just "Us" (Refuse to allow an "us and them" spirit in your midst)

25. From planned church to spontaneous church. (Recognize ekklesia when 2 or 3 gather in his name)

26. From bondage to freedom for women. (Acts 2:17-18, Gal. 3:26-28. Freeing God’s ministers )

27. From presbytery without the people to presbytery with the people involved. (Acts 15:22)

28. From arbitrary guidelines to biblical guidelines for appointing elders (I Tim. 3, Titus 1)

29. From "my pastor" to "my pastors." (MR. PASTOR, TEAR DOWN THESE WALLS!)

30. From raising up leaders to appointing servants. (The ground is flat in God’s kingdom)

31. From local vision to world vision. (Jesus last command: (All the world, every person, every nation)

32. From building my kingdom to building His kingdom. ("Come and let us help you fulfill your vision")

33. From wall-wide church to city-wide church. (They filled Jerusalem with their teaching)

34. From fear of stealing sheep to fear of possessing sheep. (Acts 20:28-31. One city-One flock)

35. From building-centered pastors, to people-centered pastors. (Acts 20:28-31. One city-One Body)

36. From using the word "church" to using the phrase "the Body of Christ." (Acts 19:32-41)

37. From restricted to unhindered fellowship. (I’m a member of every church in town.)

38. From overwhelming oversight to restful oversight.

39. From lecture Bible study to interactive Bible study. (The Body of Christ ministering to itself)

40. From dependence on programs to dependence on prayer. (the Acts 4:29-30 kind)

* "Father, give me a divine appointment with someone today who is hungry for God or in need. Give me sensitivity to know when that happens and grace to minister the love of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit."