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] Date Posted:15:09:55 01/07/04 Wed
So if discipleship methods of current modern trends work well with those who think in modern ways, do we keep those methods in place? Should we keep them in place for the whole church even though some think more postmodern for cause of unity? Devin points out that the youth of the present are heavily postmodern and the traditional ways of answering their questions/dilemas do not seem adequate. One thing I have notice in the youth that I work with is that the "church switch" that they flip on and off in their lives is accentuated by their dichotomy of modern thinking at church, and postmodern thinking with their friends at school and their favorite places. When the youth minister gives that familiar talk to the youth telling them that their lives shouldn't be split into church and school, he/she is fighting more than hypocrosy, the youth leader is fighting to combine two schools of thought and this impossibility comes off to the youth as, "Don't just act like you do at church but think and talk like you do at church and your friends and aquaintences (although they don't really know why) will berate you for your backward ways." Youth ministry flourishes when the precious elements of the Gospel and Scripture are communicated (Unadulterated) to the students and accented with instruction that fits with the mindsets of their reality.
Don't get me wrong, the Holy Spirit transcends culture as well as the power of the Gospel. This is obvious enough in observing the Spirit's work in all parts of the globe, yet to try and tell youth, college students, and various others that their postmoderninsm is unscriptural because of modern bias anchored in current church structure is desperately wrong. McLaren is wise to point out that their are pitfalls in postmoderninsm (especially seen in some attempts to transition ministry models into a dawning era) but there are also pitfalls in modern ideology as well. Some of my further posts will be on both. Regarding old structure in the church and discipleship, the skyscraper is often used to describe the rigidness. A new model might be a river. The banks must be high enough to contain what is occuring (the teacher must have enough depth so that the discussion does not overflow the banks/capacity of the teacher to handle: please note I am not saying He know all the answers or give a concrete response to every question, but it does the students no good for a novice to muddle the issues.) The rocks/debris in the river provide texture. (issues that the studens' minds swirl around and focus on. Some of the rocks are surface material, and some are deeper and less noticeable. It is one of the responsibilities of the teacher to draw out these deeper stones) The momentum of the water is controlled by the degree of the river bed. (The teacher must gage the students and be able to slow or accelerate depending on how things are going.) The river curves and twists. (One of the harder concepts to wrestle with concerning traditional ideas of progress, yet the river, the students minds are always going forward, it is the responsibility of the teacher to help explore the land and cut through valley and across plains to bring life to all areas of the Christian countryside.) More analogies can be drawn but I'm sure you get the picture. Well, write back yo!
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[> Subject: Re: Traditional Structures too rigid for their own good
Date Posted:18:50:40 01/08/04 Thu
I think that we must keep in mind that the modern church has been successful and I don't think that we can deny that for a lot of people the modern church is suited perfect for them. Therefore, I think it all depends on the individual church. I am not really resorting to indivdualism but am offering that the individual church should be able to discifer what is really effective discipleship for the people that they are ministering to. I don't think that we should excercise the view that the modern church is bad by any means, but should be noted that there is always room for improvement and in understanding society where it is at in order to understand how to reach out to those people. Now on the subject of unity, I would like to respond with this question: What kind of unity is really being portrayed? I think there is a lot of unity in an individaul church but we fail at unity when it comes to being united to other churches outside a certain denomination or even outside our own church. HOw do we bridge this gap? What if we actually pointed people that we got to know to a church that we think would best suit them in order for their interests to be met and for them to be discipled in there ways that would be effective for them rather than trying to keep them at the church we go to. What if we were that in tuned with other churches that we knew what churches ministries they specialized in? What if there was more and more interaction with other churches? Just something to think about.
Date Posted:20:02:35 01/08/04 Thu
Devin, you're right. For the churches that are working well with the modern structures there is no real need to force change or critisize. The key is to find a way to minister effectively to all the people of the churches whether they are modern or postmodern. I had a great experience over the break preaching to a mennonite congregation. The moderns told me how much they liked my style and what I said and the postmodern youth told their parents (I got all this second hand) that I really connected with them. Praise all to God for His leading in that sermon! It got me to thinking that the way we preach, minister, sing, commune in fellowship with one another will need to be a measured hybrid of modern/postmodern effort. In fact, if there be a way... more than a hybrid, but a equally intensive effort with both thoughts.
About unity within churches and between churches... I think it all has to come down to a community of Faith. If the basic relationships of individuals were based on a mutual faith instead of normal clique routines than the relationships of Christians between churches would be little different than relationships within the church. Think about it... if Christians were taught that their relationships with other Christians were as important as their relationship with God, and that both are based on faith (The same faith in Jesus Christ and His blood, and redeeming intentions)than they would not take into primary consideration whether or not they liked another Christian's personality, looks, accent, speech patterns, or their particular nuances of doctrine. The primary aspect of their relationship is defined by a living breathing vibrant constant found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
If the sub-community of the local church and community of the whole is based on a mutual faith, than the idea of the body of Christ can be fully realized. We can quit pitting individuals against the whole Holy Writ and expecting them to match up and chastising them when they don't. The individual Christian is a bit of an oximoron. We are the branches, Christ is the vine. We are all connected in our life-source to Christ, we are a community. We must begin to enact and engage that community through Christ (the central core/our very life-source). This helps to free the church from disension in order to engage our commision. This is true on the local church level, and on the global church level. This desire for local churches to consistently interact in constructive ways is possible, but not through normal social interactions, but through the supernatural transforming initiative of our Lord-the Head of his Church. Here's to Devin and that clear head of yours