Growth: Uncertain belief still counts as knowledge…


Tim Keller
June 28, 2006, 7:54 pm
Filed under: Church, Emerging

Recently, I have been researching a lot more into what it means to be “missional” in the local church.  One of the purveyors of this notion is a little man called Tim Keller.  To some, you have no clue who he is, but let’s just say he’s the pastor of a church called Redeemer Prebyterian Church in the heart of Urban New York City.  He is in the TRENCHES of urban culture and his church is reaching out to so many in the city and planting other churches that is sharing Christ to many people.

Here is an example of some of his wisdom of “Scripture as Foundation”… even in this postmodern age (a brief video interview from the desiringGod 06 conference preview)

Tim Keller – The Scripture as Foundation

If you are more interested in what Keller has to say and/or want to watch some of the other interviews on Mark Driscoll, Piper and David F. Wells, check out these two sites:

Tim Keller Resource by Steve K McCoy (The Reformissionary)

and

desiringGod 06 Video Interviews

I pray some of these resources will help us grow and learn in our own Toronto Chinese Church models which are in some serious need to being a missionary to our own areas.



The Missional Church
June 21, 2006, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Church, Emerging

I think some people have been hearing me whining and complaining for a while about the inadequacy of the church as of late.  I guess it's been really tough on me to see a church drained of truly making disciples of Jesus.

I'm going to attend Urbana 06 this year (after a bit of prodding from certain people) and I got this web article about the Missional church.  If there are some of you who don't like anything Emergent, this may not be for you, but I think this article is a great summary of a lot of ideas and thoughts I have been having about the church.

The Missional Church by Jim Thomas

Thomas quotes Minfred Minatrea about missional churches with 9 common practices:

1. Having a high threshold for membership (high expectations for believers)
2. Being real, not real religious (being transparent, authentic, with one foot in “the world.”)
3. Teaching to obey rather than to know (a practical faith)
4. Rewriting worship every week (Creative, participatory Sunday morning services)
5. Living apostolically (each believer as a missionary)
6. Expecting to change the world (aggressively engaged in transforming communities)
7. Ordering actions according to purpose. (Ruthless aligning of resources with mission)
8. Measuring growth by capacity to release rather than retain. (Not megachurches but multiplying churches)
9. Placing kingdom concerns first (in contrast to denomination first. Thus, cooperation with other churches)

This hits it right on the money!  I totally agree with these practices and have been struggling to put them into words for a while.  Later in the article he shows models that deviate from being a missional church:

– There are some churches who are missionary churches who focus more on developing funding for foreign missions which has become a sort of "traditional" understanding  of what being a missionary means.  But the missional church goes further and shows that missions right outside our door is just as important and that EVERY believer is a missionary.

– Another church model is the Church growth model which some has become too focus on growing and retaining their own membership versus kingdom growth and "releasing" others to plant churches.

Finally, Something that I think hits close to home…  for TCBC:

Maintenance churches. Minatrea refers to these as conventional churches. McNeal describes them as churches with a “club” mentality. They are churches that have made themselves their purpose. Their priorities include maintaining established programs and practices, in large part because they are established, and keeping people coming to the church in order to maintain the programs. The church building (enlarging and maintaining it) is often a key goal or priority.

At the risk of overstating the nature of maintenance churches, I would place in this category churches that have a self-absorbed spirituality. That is, churches focused on orthodoxy, tradition, or health and wealth messages. (This is not to say that more traditional churches cannot be missional.) A related category of spirituality is what I would call "knowledge-centered." This is a church that elevates analysis and knowledge of the Bible but does not exhort and practically enable people to an active Christian life-style. Information is seen as a necessary and sufficient witness, and believing it brings salvation and the Holy Spirit, leading in turn to a transformed life. My own church has had dual tendencies, both a knowledge orientation and radical discipleship. One of the changes we’ve been experiencing in recent years is a shift to a more activist, missional church life.

Anyways, please read it if you're interested 😉

Peace.



Is it just me?
June 20, 2006, 4:51 am
Filed under: Church, Emerging, Life in general, Worship

I'm just kind of curious but….

What do you think is the purpose of your church?  (please no purpose-driven life answers!)

Do you feel each sunday you come to church coming out renewed, transformed and loved by Jesus?

Is church really reserved for the weekend?

Is your churches discovering its God-given creativity to worshipping God and to bless people around them?

Are you tired of the same old church politics, but still a fervent follower of Christ wanting to see Jesus lived out in your area?

I'll be honest…  I am tired.  I am reaching my breaking point soon.  I will find an outlet soon to answer these questions and more.  I refuse to sit back and wait any longer and miss out on God's exhorting.  Time for songwriting again.  Time for God to be honored and glorified in more than just small bursts of "attempts".  Time to pray for God to use me where He's wanting me to be.

Move in me, dwell in me, so I may live to live like Jesus in Toronto, in 2006 and onward…



The Hulk
June 4, 2006, 4:37 am
Filed under: Life in general, Relationships

Do you ever have those moments?  You know what I mean.  Those moments you just feel annoyed…  then slowly more and more angry, and in the end you just turn into this big ball of rage that just goes an unleashes on all your unsuspecting loved ones and friends?

You know who that is?

it's someone so mean and pissed off he can't hold back any of his hurtful desires…  ya, just look in the mirror, you'll see him clear as day.

I can't help it.

I'm selfish.  I'm vain.  I'm egotistical.  I'm envious.  I'm a hypocrite.  I'm a liar.  I'm insensitive.  and everything else that wrecks a relationship.

Sometimes I just… WANT… ugh…

I just need some understanding…

Yours truly,

The (s)Hulk

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Kind of sick but having some thoughts…
June 4, 2006, 2:48 am
Filed under: Church, Emerging, Relationships, Worship

I'm kinda feeling the start of a sickness/cold coming on but I didn't want to go sleep until I just got some preliminary thoughts out…

-maybe instead of just blog whining, I should invest some time into writing some of my perspectives on the local chinese church in Toronto.

-I could be right, I could be wrong, but at least I'll have some things that I can refer back to instead of keep randomly lashing out at things here and there.

-In the model of some emerging church counterparts I think I have to do this in a very humble manner or it will just be taken as complaining without some input in persevering and pressing on.  Likewise I don't want to offend people so they will fall but bring up new and old questions to the table.

-Of course being in a chinese culture has its own issues…  and it definitely plays a big part in our church culture…  but isn't it time to move past the "chinese" label and see the church in terms of how the bible calls us to be?  Especially when Jesus talks about it!

-Evangelism/relationship building/living a Christ centered life…  as a 2nd Gen chinese canadian…

-Worship in the chinese church…

 Lotsa interesting stuff I want to touch on soon… but soon 😉  not now…



Rebuttal if you want…
June 2, 2006, 4:54 am
Filed under: Church, Emerging, Life in general, Relationships

but I'm just fed up with this chinese church enigma!

If you can't tell this is just a rant that I have chose to make public and if it comes across offensive, rude, unfiltered and untrue, TALK TO ME ABOUT IT!

Mon's told me recently my thoughts are just random, not focused lately…  and so's this blog. 

There's SO many things I can say, but right now I'll just start with this: I'm tired of how church is viewed as some kind of social gathering that appeases people who are looking for a group of people who are in the same "lifestage". I've found so many church "fellowships", "sunday school", etc all segregated and compartmentalized to people going through the "same life stage".

If you don't believe consider this:
1) Singles can't "fellowship" with couples because couples tend to be in a new "lifestage".
2) Youth are too young and inexperienced to speak into the lives of older or more "mature" christians simply because they don't have the life experience.
3) Working class people or NEWLY working class people don't have enough time to invest into younger people because they need to commune with people who are going through the same phase of life.
4) Pastors can only find support in a straight line connection to God, he/she only speaks authoritatively to the people (through the word I guess), but it is not expected the "community" (or even ELDERS) is/are there for him.
5) People with new children are taboo to talk with because they need personal time
6) When you are dating/courting someone, that means that person needs your utmost attention… which means other people can be put on hold for now.

and then 7, 8, 9, etc etc etc.

Ok, some of you might criticize me and say "well Shu, some people have other purposes to do what they do, stop judging them". FINE, I won't JUDGE them, but if ANYTHING, let me ask these questions:

Why is it so hard to develop true community in the body of Christ?

Why is community development always sounding to me more like something more man-centered (selfish) than something God-centered (unselfish)?

How come the chinese church is so prone to stick to old ways of establishing group dynamics when clearly Toronto is becoming more and more difficult logistically for members of their churches?

Why in Phil 2 Paul talks about being like-minded, but when we speak of that passage we get to a point where others feel like they are FORCED to be "like minded" and end up feeling oppressed, end up feeling their thoughts mean JACK and in the end, leave the church? What kind of like-mindedness is that?

I guess on ANY kind of positive note I'll leave this blog will HAVE to come from the bible. My ONLY source of understanding through this mess I've been thinking through:

Philippians 2:1-3
Imitating Christ's Humility

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

The only thing I can take from this passage is that we need to re-establish in some of our chinese churches what is our purpose in the bible but THROUGH community/fellowship or whatever you call it. But it'll take sacrifice, it'll take time, it'll take going past our "comfort" places in the church and get together and hear God speak. So many chinese churches are doing PDL or purpose-driven church or whatever, I hope it works for them… but at the same time, I hope we don't just rely on Rick Warren's guide to the bible and purpose, but also use our own "precious time" to sacrifice to God.

So to re-enforce that, I'll just shut it and try my hardest to walk it because it seems a year of seminary just gives you talk and no walk… ugh…

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