“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein
When I was trying to create a “box with a cross on top” kind of church in the church centric model, I came up with the slogan, Real People, Real Community, Real Jesus, Doing Life Together. I still thought of the church gathering as the best vehicle for creating community. In all honesty, the numbers of people in any given church who actually connect (and there are many) actually represent such a small percentage of our attendant congregation as to be deemed an organizational failure (again, it is not a failure to the ones for whom it is working). We had an “Arrows Out” mindset and it had a great effect at gathering, but connecting was less than stellar. The goal was to use the the church gathering as the launchpad for doing life together. These days I am seeing and thinking from a different perspective. I see doing life together as the launchpad for doing church together.
I just shared a blog by Derek Archer addressing the relational isolation and loneliness of pastoral ministry. I wonder if that is because most who we identify as pastors use church as the basis for doing life, rather than doing life as the basis for church. Doing life is relational, independent and interdependent. It is where the cast is set for being real and identifying what is real. There are no preconceived rolls for a person to fall into while doing life. You are who you are and relate based upon that. When you start at life and move toward church you are changing the way you think about virtually everything.
Church centric thinking has created a whole mess of problems and many of the Christ followers I know recognize those, but try to address those from a church centric way of thinking. Perhaps a life, relationship, community centric way of thinking can help us reach out and connect people together first, then draw them toward corporate centers of Biblical teaching, worship and thought.
I am not sure that what I am saying makes sense outside of my own head. I can see the difference quite clearly. I hope I am painting with contrasting color here so that you can share in the thought, then add your critique, agreement, or resonate additional thoughts. My friend list is actually full of real friends. I welcome you to wade in, friend.