Forward

Discomfort

Grace makes outsider’s comfortable and entrenched insiders uncomfortable.  Entrenched insiders experienced apoplexy over the outsider focus of Jesus’ ministry.  Furthermore, the outsider attention that Jesus received drove entrenched insiders crazy.  Outsider friendly churches persistently do things that make outsiders COMFORTABLE and (sometimes) make insiders UNcomfortable.

“If we are going to reach people who have never been reached, we’ll have to do things that have never been done.”

Creativity

Do creative things that capture an outsider’s imagination or at least inspire interest.  Meeting in the theater inspires interest.  A wine tasting inspires interest.  Leaders must find creative ways to challenge the status quo and inspire an outsider’s interest.  Leaders must create opportunities where committed believers can say a good word that inspires interest in outsiders.

Rebels

Jesus lived an anti-establishment life.  He challenged status quo religion.  His vision for authentic relationship with God propelled Him to challenge a dead establishment.  Today, the Church needs an anti-establishment voice.  Graying, dying churches tell me we are losing our current generation.  Statistics verify my concern. The answer is not breathing life into dead institutions.  The answer is establishing new ones.  We must dance an anti-establishment line.

Without angry hatred toward fellow believers we must be religious rebels.

Discouragement

I’ve said before that we should do things where failure matters.  Translation, be open to discouragement.  If we persistently hedge ourselves from failure we’ll embrace small vision and accomplish small things but, thankfully, we’ll never be discouraged because we failed.  😉  Churches are not retirement communities, vacation resorts, or havens for the holy.  Letting people face the potential of failure and discouragement reflects confidence in Jesus and in them.  Additionally, the context of encouragement is discouragment.  Taking risks can deepen our faith-walk and drive us toward each other.

Innovate

Seth Godin offers this creative way to fan the flames of innovation.  “Just do stuff.  First you have to fail, then you can improve.”  He’s not explaining how to manage the status quo.  He’s explaining how to innovate.  Here are some other ideas that pour gas on innovation.

  • Playing it safe is risky
  • Everything is an experiment
  • Maturity is not conformity

Why?

Why create discomfort, enhance creativity, rebel against the status quo, face discouragement, and cultivate innovation?  Whatever you do, do it for the gospel.  We must put ourselves and our resources on the line.  As time passes we seek comfort and stability.  Falling into this pattern has deadly consequences.  Impact declines and passion stagnates.  Unless we’re vigilant the aging process results in fruitless living.

Grace Freak

Dan Rockwell
www.graceunplugge.org

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2 Comments on “Forward”

  1. Jack Ducharme Says:

    Dan,
    Enjoy your graceunplugged posts. Do you think that many BCS grads are “guilty” of trying to conform, to maintain the staus quo based on the value education that we recieved at BCS?
    When I was in school, I refused to conform and I probably don’t conform to their ideas of an ideal Christian today. I, however, have a complete personal relationship with Jesus Christ and like you believe that it is only by his grace that I can be successful in my spirituality and in life.
    At the church where I worship, we are clearly experiencing the doldrums of a hierarchy that refuses to change. The congregation is getting older and the young people are not coming out. Everyone says it is a problem with the “kids and parents” of today. I say it is a problem with the church today. We don’t have to be of this world to live in the world. We do however have to understand what keeps things fresh and exciting for people both young and old.
    Love your approach…look forward to future posts.
    Jack

    • Dan Rockwell Says:

      Jack,

      Thanks for the good word. I truly appreciate it. I think the magnatism of the status quo is nearly impossible to overcome. It takes dissatisfaction with the current state and a clear view of a prefered future. Then it takes courage to let go of the past and passion to reach for the future.

      Our area, like yours is experience the death of churches. We can’t look outside ourselves to cast the blame. The problem with dying Churches is internal. “We have met the enemy and the enemy is us.” Few church leaders have the guts to admit it and fewer still have the courage to do anything about it.

      One problem is we have made our methods more sacred than our message. Methods can change but the message of grace is eternal. When methods become sacred we inevitable become irrelevant to changing cultures.

      Thanks again for the encouragment.

      Merry Christmas

      Grace Freak Dan


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