Wednesday, January 18, 2006

How will real life change happen in the context of our church?

Karen Williamson wrote:

I've been thinking. . . .

How will real life change happen in the context of our church?

Fact: It is God who changes people, and the Holy Spirit who somehow helps.
Fact: Frequently, the Holy Spirit uses people to help change people.
Fact: People have to want to change, and do certain things to facilitate change in their own lives. I cannot change someone else.
Fact: The Church is made up of wounded, sinful, hurting people who need a Savior, not only for salvation, but for healing and wholeness.

Theory: Real change is probably going happen in smaller, more intimate groups where honesty and accountability are safe and expected, rather than in a larger group setting.

Question: How will we structure our church gatherings so that everyone is encouraged to work on those parts of our lives that need real change, to seek support and prayer in our areas of need, and then to go and help others do the same all week long?

My own thinking: As we have grown, it has become easier to come in and out of our time together on Sunday being rather anonymous, not necessarily intentionally, and not because the hurts and struggles and needs do not exist, but . . . . just because. It probably isn't going to happen in a gathering of 50.

Some in our church body are connected with a core group where real life change is happening. The extroverts in our group will continue to speak up, and some have been open and honest in some of these ways. But a good number of our introverts may continue to show up just like they always did, going to and from church quietly, and not very honestly.

I'm not bringing this up as an issue of size, though that is an obvious consideration. But rather, whether large or small, how will we as a church communicate the expectation that we don't keep "doing church", even in a new and fresh way, without our being changed in the process? That this a place where we expect healing and growth to take place, because we are a bunch of wounded, hurting, and sinful people coming together before a benevolent, gracious, abundantly loving Father and Savior?

Any thoughts?