Moral Contradictions

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Equipping the saints

One of the struggles I've witnessed and engaged with over the last year is figuring out how to raise up laity leadership. There's a dual dynamic at play: 1. the pastor/staff have to want to raise leadership and 2. the laity must want to serve. The staff then helps the laity discern how best to apply their gifts, and together discover God's will for their church and their lives.

If the laity want to serve but the options are limited, they will either force the staff into action or get frustrated and pull out. They can only tread water for so long. If the laity do not want to serve but the staff desires ministry and discipleship growth, the staff will get frustrated and pull out because they do not have adequate help. To some extent, the staff can only accomplish what the congregation is willing to do.

I've witnessed both dynamics this year, and frustration abounds on both sides.

A quote from a comment over at Marty Duren's blog spurred me to write this (though I don't agree with the thrust of the comment, it's still insightful):

Furthermore, our congregations are duped into the notion that their service in the Kingdom is accomplished by vote-casting and maintenance of the organization rather than through ministry.

We shouldn't come to church because of a guilt-trip or because it's 'what we do'. We shouldn't come to sing the familiar hymns simply to fulfill nostaligic needs - we should come to church to serve and worship God, and in turn, be fed with spiritual nourishment and equip us to share the Gospel to a broken and hurting world.

If the staff does not require more than 'pew-warming' as opposed to ministry, and the congregation buys into it, our churches are headed in the wrong direction. Following Christ is not easy, and there's more to it than just showing up on Sunday.


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