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Joe Kamphuis on June 23, 2011

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Thanks John.  It is good to know at least one guy thinks I am not nuts.  I recently shared the Bosch quote with another friend of mine and he said Bosch is drawing too much of a distinction between the church as institution and the church as organism.  Yet I see Bosch challenging the model of what the church as institution has become (i.e. "a place where") rather than distinguishing between the two.  I believe Bosch sees the church as institution (with creeds, confessions, sacraments, corporate worship, and preaching) and the church as organism are one in the same and ought to operate that way.  What do you think?

So what are the implications of this for church multiplication?  Should we be concerned with planting institutional CRC's or should we be more concerned with bringing new believers to a greater knowledge of the love and grace given in Jesus?  This is where my dilemma comes in.  I am a committed member of the CRCNA as a minister of the Word in that same denomination, but my greatest concern is for the advancement of Christ's Kingdom to the furtherance of God's glory.           Are these two separate issues?  

Thanks again John.  I really resonate with what you are saying.  Planting God's word is the key.  Paul says, "I planted, Apollos watered, and God made it grow."  I also believe reaching people who don't know Jesus with the truth about Jesus must be our focus for planting God's word.  We still must help God's people grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, but I think the best way they can grow is by participating in God's mission with Him.  That's what's at the heart of it for me.  I recently read the book "The Sacrament of Evangelism" by Jerry Root and Stan Guthrie; an excellent book and I highly recommend it.  In the book they  suggest that the sacraments (baptism and the Lord's Supper) are about experiencing a greater awareness of God's presence.  If that is true, then they claim we are never more aware of God's presence than when we are participating in mission with Him.  They contend God is already at work in the lives of our family, friends, and neighbors so we need to develop the ability to discern what God is already doing and join Him in it.  That's really good stuff!

Thank you Chris.  I think you are right on the money.  It is time that the current leaders focus their energy into reproducing new leaders by equipping God's people, empowering them for kingdom ministry, and then releasing to follow God's call in their spheres of influence (family, friends, neighbors, etc.).  Too often leaders today are asked to be chaplains for God's people rather than equippers.  If the church is going to regain its strength and relevance in the world today that has to change!

Thank you Phil and others for your comments.  This is a very important discussion for the future viability of the CRCNA.

I think the primary focus for us as church leaders should be to help people know how to do what they do as representatives of Jesus.  As one elder put it in speaking to her congregation, "We don't want you to do different things, we just want to help you do the things you do differently."  It strikes me that although we see lots of evidence of Jesus spending time in personal worship with the Father there does not seem to be an emphasis on weekly worship attendance at the synagogue or temple for that matter for Jesus.  Now I realize that Jesus is an extreme case, and that descriptioin does not equal prescription, but it does beg the question, "What does it really mean to follow Jesus?" and "How can we emphasize mutually accountable personal worship and growth in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, rather than simply using pew time (church attendance) as the criteria?"

Good stuff, Paul!  Thank you for sharing.  The good news is really good!  There is no downside.  It is God restoring the broken relationship between Himself and His people.  Only He can do it.  Only He did it, and now he asks us to believe it so that we can receive it.  To God be the glory!  Great things He has done!

The real struggle it seems is not between trust and control, but rather trust and fear because fear leads to the need for control.  Until we (as ministers) truly embrace our calling "to equip the saints for the works of service", the church will not see the expanding influence which God intends.  Too often in our fear of what might happen we try to hold onto the control.  Even at classis we use words and engage in conversation at a level most people cannot understand.  This causes lay leaders (many of whom are more gifted than we) to second guess themselves and wonder if they have anything meaningful to contribute.  I thank God that our last classis meeting entertained and passed 3 overtures which all originated in the heart and mind of a dedicated and serious lay leader.  While I may not have fully agreed with everything in them, it is great to see the initiative given by our laity and the endorsement received by the classis.  Fear leads to a need for control, whereas trust leads to a willingness to empower and release God's people for ministry.  This is what we are called to do, and this is what Jesus' body (the church) needs today.

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