I think this is really important. Congregations gather around bad dynamics and good ones. Ones that play on anger and fear, and ones that draw us into the fullness of Jesus Christ. (I once called these the “empty politic” versus the “politic of fullness”). One set of dynamics leads us to withdraw from the culture, the other set shapes us in the surrounding culture for mission. It is really important to understand these dynamics that shape congregations.
I believe God has given us in Christ practices that over turn the bad dynamics of gathering people via antagonisms, false causes, consumerism. Instead, we as pastors and leaders can lead people to form communities into His presence among us, His reign, indeed His mission.These practices: the Lord’s Table, proclaiming gospel, reconciliation, being “with” the least of these, being “with” children, the five fold ministry, Kingdom prayer – are the practices given to us by Jesus (along with baptism) that shape congregations in their context (as opposed to against their context), engaging their context (instead of withdrawal from it), for the blessing and renewal of their context in Christ (instead of in antagonism with their context). They shape us into His Kingdom becoming visible through His people.
We’re exploring all of this in a course this summer at Fuller Seminary. It’s about congregational formation!! The way we lead and shape congregations. Whether you are a church planter, a leader of a congregation in need of renewal, or a leader of a congregation that needs a new direction, this course will explore the dynamics that God has given us for calling people together in Him!
Here’s one of my awesome slick personally produced videos for you to further consider this course
If you’re at Fuller in the DMin program, and this interests, sign up for the class TM 738 Cultivating the Kingdom: Shaping Communities for God’s Kingdom, Aug 4-8 2014! won’t you?