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Contemporary Evangelism
and Expressions of Church:
 Leadership and Mission




         The Light Project
            Session 16
     clintheacock@yahoo.com
Learning Outcomes
•   To explore the concept of ‘the church as
    an organic unity’ based largely upon
    Frank Viola’s Reimagining Church.
• To compare and contrast the
    ‘institutional church’ with the ‘organic
    church.’
3. To understand the impact of healthy and
    functional church leadership upon church
    structure and mission.
“…something deep within me longed for an
  experience of church that mapped to what
  I read about in my New Testament. And I
  couldn’t seem to find it in any traditional
  church I attended.
In fact, the more I read the Bible, the more I
  became convinced that the contemporary
  church had departed far from its traditional
  roots.”
                            Viola, Reimagining Church, 11.
“A revolution in both the theology and practice of
  the church is upon us. Countless Christians,
  including theologians, ministers, and scholars,
  are seeking new ways to renew and reform the
  church. Others have given up on the traditional
  concept of the church altogether.
They have come to the conviction that the
  institutional church as we know it today is not
  only ineffective, but it’s also without biblical
  merit. For this reason, they feel that it would be a
  mistake to reform or renew the present church
  structure. Because the structure is the root
  problem.”
                                 Viola, Reimagining Church,15.
Why might the structure of the present church be
               the ‘root problem’?
These names are associated with churches in the
                      West:

•   ‘the institutional church’
•   ‘the traditional church’
•   ‘basilica churches’
•   ‘auditorium churches’
•   ‘spectator churches’
•   ‘audience churches’
•   ‘programme-based churches’
The term ‘institutional church’ does not refer
                to God’s people.
 It refers instead to a system or a way of
                 ‘doing church.’
How can we characterize ‘institutional churches’?
• Exist above, beyond and independent of their
  members
• Constructed upon programmes and rituals rather
  than upon relationships
• Often keep members from exercising their gifts
• Priorities determine structure (hierarchical and non-
  relational)
• Highly structured, building-centred organizations
• Regulated by set-apart professionals (‘clergy’)
  aided by volunteers (‘laity’)
• Congregants watch a religious performance once
  or twice a week and retreat home to live out their
  individual Christian lives during the week
Leadership: Traditional Churches



            POSITIONAL
        CLERGY
             MINDSET:




                           LAITY
            Hierarchical
             Leadership
Traditional Church: Leadership on a Pedestal
The major problem with institutional and
 hierarchical churches is that they keep
 members in a state of ‘spiritual infancy.’




  How did this situation come to be?
• The Body of Christ has lapsed into an
  audience due to its reliance on single
  leaders
• Christians come weekly to watch
  ‘professionals’ perform
• ‘Professional pulpiteerism’ supported
  financially by lay-spectators
• Usurps the Christian’s right to minister
  spiritually during corporate gatherings
• Keeps Christians weak and insecure
• Disempowers and pacifies the believing
  priesthood
• The majority of the church becomes
  passive, lazy, self-seeking and arrested in
  their spiritual development
• Hierarchical leadership suppresses both
  authentic community and natural, organic
  ministry (although not necessarily
  intentionally)
• Congregations become passive and
  dependent
• Warps many who occupy clerical positions
  since they struggle to shoulder the
  burdens of ministry alone—and were
  never intended to in the first place.
Bottom Line: Christians have come to
   prefer the convenience of paying
someone else to shoulder the burden of
  oversight, ministry and shepherding.
Leadership: ‘New Testament Churches’



         PRIESTHOOOD
         OF BELIEVERS
                    FUNCTIONAL




                                 SPIRIT
                                 GIFTS
                      MINDSET:




                                  OF
                     Organic and
                    mutual ministry
How can the ‘organic church’ be
                   characterized?
•   Churches that operate according to the
    same spiritual principles as NT churches
•   ‘People out for a walk’ rather than ‘people
    riding on a train’ (traditional churches)
•   Seek to give life rather than laying on yet
    more rules and regulations
•   Helps believers to grow in Christ rather
    than filling people with shame, fear, guilt
    and a sense of spiritual inadequacy
• Authentic (biblical) community
• Easy for people to function and contribute
• Non-hierarchical and relational
• Spirit free to move and change church’s
  direction
• Organic and spontaneous outreach to
  unbelievers
• Church becomes ‘all of life’ 24/7 rather
  than Sundays alone
• No artificial division between the ‘sacred’
  and the ‘secular’
Key Words to
Describe the Church:
•Organic
•Natural growth
•Bearing fruit
•Healthy
•Growing
•Good for you!
•Compelling
Should the church grow organically out of its association with the Scriptures?
Given what we have learned so far about how Paul
  and the early Christians conceived of the church,
  church leadership and evangelism…

• How do current models of church and
  evangelism fit those concepts?
• Why do you think so little has come of
  programme-driven ‘church growth’ and
  evangelism strategies?
• What, if anything, needs to change currently so
  that our churches and our evangelism are more
  organic, natural and spontaneous?
What do you think Paul would say today if
 he saw the state of the institutional
 churches in the West?

Do you think that his response would fit the
 images we saw in his writings of the
 church as a body or a living organism
 where each body part does its part to help
 the entire organism experience natural
 and organic growth?
For resources related to preaching that
    addresses the challenges of emerging
       church and postmodernism see:
          www.preachersforum.org
For blog posts on spirituality, life and religion
                     see:
    www.propheticrhetoric.blogspot.com

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Pauline Evangelism Session 16: Church Leadership and Mission

  • 1. Contemporary Evangelism and Expressions of Church: Leadership and Mission The Light Project Session 16 clintheacock@yahoo.com
  • 2. Learning Outcomes • To explore the concept of ‘the church as an organic unity’ based largely upon Frank Viola’s Reimagining Church. • To compare and contrast the ‘institutional church’ with the ‘organic church.’ 3. To understand the impact of healthy and functional church leadership upon church structure and mission.
  • 3. “…something deep within me longed for an experience of church that mapped to what I read about in my New Testament. And I couldn’t seem to find it in any traditional church I attended. In fact, the more I read the Bible, the more I became convinced that the contemporary church had departed far from its traditional roots.” Viola, Reimagining Church, 11.
  • 4. “A revolution in both the theology and practice of the church is upon us. Countless Christians, including theologians, ministers, and scholars, are seeking new ways to renew and reform the church. Others have given up on the traditional concept of the church altogether. They have come to the conviction that the institutional church as we know it today is not only ineffective, but it’s also without biblical merit. For this reason, they feel that it would be a mistake to reform or renew the present church structure. Because the structure is the root problem.” Viola, Reimagining Church,15.
  • 5. Why might the structure of the present church be the ‘root problem’? These names are associated with churches in the West: • ‘the institutional church’ • ‘the traditional church’ • ‘basilica churches’ • ‘auditorium churches’ • ‘spectator churches’ • ‘audience churches’ • ‘programme-based churches’
  • 6. The term ‘institutional church’ does not refer to God’s people. It refers instead to a system or a way of ‘doing church.’
  • 7. How can we characterize ‘institutional churches’? • Exist above, beyond and independent of their members • Constructed upon programmes and rituals rather than upon relationships • Often keep members from exercising their gifts • Priorities determine structure (hierarchical and non- relational) • Highly structured, building-centred organizations • Regulated by set-apart professionals (‘clergy’) aided by volunteers (‘laity’) • Congregants watch a religious performance once or twice a week and retreat home to live out their individual Christian lives during the week
  • 8. Leadership: Traditional Churches POSITIONAL CLERGY MINDSET: LAITY Hierarchical Leadership
  • 10. The major problem with institutional and hierarchical churches is that they keep members in a state of ‘spiritual infancy.’ How did this situation come to be?
  • 11. • The Body of Christ has lapsed into an audience due to its reliance on single leaders • Christians come weekly to watch ‘professionals’ perform • ‘Professional pulpiteerism’ supported financially by lay-spectators • Usurps the Christian’s right to minister spiritually during corporate gatherings • Keeps Christians weak and insecure • Disempowers and pacifies the believing priesthood
  • 12. • The majority of the church becomes passive, lazy, self-seeking and arrested in their spiritual development • Hierarchical leadership suppresses both authentic community and natural, organic ministry (although not necessarily intentionally) • Congregations become passive and dependent • Warps many who occupy clerical positions since they struggle to shoulder the burdens of ministry alone—and were never intended to in the first place.
  • 13. Bottom Line: Christians have come to prefer the convenience of paying someone else to shoulder the burden of oversight, ministry and shepherding.
  • 14. Leadership: ‘New Testament Churches’ PRIESTHOOOD OF BELIEVERS FUNCTIONAL SPIRIT GIFTS MINDSET: OF Organic and mutual ministry
  • 15. How can the ‘organic church’ be characterized? • Churches that operate according to the same spiritual principles as NT churches • ‘People out for a walk’ rather than ‘people riding on a train’ (traditional churches) • Seek to give life rather than laying on yet more rules and regulations • Helps believers to grow in Christ rather than filling people with shame, fear, guilt and a sense of spiritual inadequacy
  • 16. • Authentic (biblical) community • Easy for people to function and contribute • Non-hierarchical and relational • Spirit free to move and change church’s direction • Organic and spontaneous outreach to unbelievers • Church becomes ‘all of life’ 24/7 rather than Sundays alone • No artificial division between the ‘sacred’ and the ‘secular’
  • 17. Key Words to Describe the Church: •Organic •Natural growth •Bearing fruit •Healthy •Growing •Good for you! •Compelling
  • 18. Should the church grow organically out of its association with the Scriptures?
  • 19. Given what we have learned so far about how Paul and the early Christians conceived of the church, church leadership and evangelism… • How do current models of church and evangelism fit those concepts? • Why do you think so little has come of programme-driven ‘church growth’ and evangelism strategies? • What, if anything, needs to change currently so that our churches and our evangelism are more organic, natural and spontaneous?
  • 20. What do you think Paul would say today if he saw the state of the institutional churches in the West? Do you think that his response would fit the images we saw in his writings of the church as a body or a living organism where each body part does its part to help the entire organism experience natural and organic growth?
  • 21. For resources related to preaching that addresses the challenges of emerging church and postmodernism see: www.preachersforum.org For blog posts on spirituality, life and religion see: www.propheticrhetoric.blogspot.com