Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Missional Patience

How many church growth experts does it take to change a light bulb?

If you were an awesomely bold leader you wouldn't install a wimpy light bulb when you could install a high-tech, mega-lumen illumination device. All you need is a demographic study, a marketing strategy and a long-term business plan. And why change only dead bulbs? After a few months, all bulbs lose some of their light-producing ability.

According to some, every church should be a mega-church, if only the pastor worked hard enough and the congregation used the right evangelism program. But this assumes that the Church operates just like a business. It relegates God to a marginal role as a silent partner.

But the kingdom of God cannot be grown in vitro in a lab.

The kingdom of God has more in common with a farm than a factory.

Clark Cowden writes at Allelon:

If you are a church leader or a ministry leader, how long will the seeds you are planting in your people remain underground before God brings them to the surface? Ten years? More? Less? If you are seeking to plant and spread missional seeds in a denominational system, how long will they remain underground before their fruits begin to surface? Ten years? More? Less? If you are seeking to be missional in the community in which you live, how long will your efforts remain underground before you begin to see results? Ten years? More? Less?

I believe the missional conversation can have a positive effect on the western church, but it is not a quick fix. It will not produce an overnight success. You can't order it at a fast food drive-through or cook it quickly in your microwave. And because so much of the growth takes place underground, we can't even see it happening. We have to operate by faith. We have to keep planting, fertilizing, cultivating, and watering, trusting in the Lord to produce the growth.

Our job is to plant the seeds of the kingdom and to be patient in doing the work of the kingdom.

Pastor Rod

"Helping You Become the Person God Created You to Be"

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