Feels Good To Let Go…

Whew. I am feeling overwhelmed by the crazy amounts of reading I have done in the past week revolving around Dan Kimball’s blog, and Neil Cole/Alan Hirsch and many others response to it. If you are unfamiliar with these conversations that is not a bad thing. It is basically a bunch of guys discussing…debating, etc. how to “do” church, that their way of “doing” church is better, and seemingly defending the way they do things. (Not all. Many of the guys have stayed very chill, and much of the conversation has been healthy-a few undeserved jabs here and there)

I started following the conversations that erupted in the comments sections and have finally stopped participating today. I can’t say I have much to add. Everyone seems to have their mind made up. Everyone has their strong, and solid points that prove this way or that. I feel no need give a long explanation here. I also have no energy left to try and convince any Christians why we (Me, my wife, our community, our organization-“Intentional Gatherings”)  do things the way we do. I could spend the next hour writing an elaborate response in order to try and convince other Christians….or I could go spend some time with one of the disciples in our community, or our next door neighbor who doesn’t know Jesus….It “Feels Good To Let Go”. Anyhow, this statement by Frost pretty much sums up how I feel:

“Our christology should lead to our missiology which in turn will lead to our ecclesiology. In other words, the way we understand the gospels and the character of God revealed to us in Jesus will affect our way of thinking about our mission in the world. If we get our christology right, it will lead to a right missiology. If we engage missionally in a godly fashion, issues such as how to ‘do’ church (ecclesiology) will take care of themselves.” -Michale Frost-

I’ve posted on this topic before. Christ called us to go and make disciples, not plant churches. He also did not call us to, or even suggest that we “go to church”. He sure as HELL did not intend for us to lose sight of making disciples by getting distracted debating with other believers “how to do church”. If we are making disciples then communities of faith should be naturally birthing. (Read the book “Church Planting Movements“, or any of the previous posts I’ve written about the book)

Also, I would encourage ALL of you who are actively pursuing this conversation through the blogs, and comment sections to visit Neil Cole’s blog if you haven’t already. Start at “Misguided Misgivings 1″. They are all very short. Dan and Neil get into a very healthy discussion in the comments section. Read those. They are very informative, and answer MANY of the questions brought up throughout the various posts.

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13 thoughts on “Feels Good To Let Go…

  1. Hey dude,

    Our mutual buddy Vince brought my attention to Dan’s thoughts. I, too, have read a lot of the back and forth, specifically Neil’s stuff (it’s so cool that he’s blogging again–and that the conversation between himself and Dan has been so cool).

    I’m weary of the conversation of which is the right way to do church. Why can we not just do what God has called us to do and rejoice when real kingdom growth is seen, whether its in an attractional or a missional setting? That’s what I really dig about you, dude. We both see things very, very similarly, but we rejoice at kingdom growth regardless of the model, etc.

    Today was our Sunday in December when all of our churches got together to eat together and celebrate what God is doing. We had a killer conversation about being agents of the kingdom, and one of our soon-to-be elders said that he’s seeing some really encouraging things–people who are far from God are being introduced to Jesus through their church, and other Christians in a more “traditional” setting are seeing the benefits of organic church (in other words, we’re not that crazy!). That’s encouraging to me–our churches are disgruntled people withdrawing from churches, but people who love Jesus and want to be agents of the kingdom.

    Crap, that’s long enough. Great post, dude. I’m getting closer to finishing up that Ephesians 4 thing–I promise!

  2. Whew. Finally some wisdom. Why is it that most Christians I know spend more time debating “how to do it right” rather than just surrendering to Christ and allowing his love to motivate and his spirit to guide? When Christ is leading, you don’t have to defend “your way” and you certainly don’t have the time to research, analyze, label, and judge the way another believer expresses the call of obedience. Doing this diminishes the mystery and power of God. I’m a scientist so I know rationality, mathematical proofs and equations have their place – but to try to reduce God’s calling to an equation… I suppose a God who fits in an equation or box is predicable and less threatening… and I know that in the past I spent a lot of mental effort trying to keep him contained. Aaron, you are doing what God has called you to do – I am glad you are not getting lured into spending your precious effort and energy into futile debates…

  3. Oh… spotted a bad typo. My last paragraph, last sentence should read:

    “That’s encouraging to me–our churches are not disgruntled people withdrawing from churches, but people who love Jesus and want to be agents of the kingdom.”

    Sorry ’bout that.

  4. Wow Aaron, I haven’t read any of the discourse on those blogs, but I already can completely connect with this issue of “letting go”. I’ve actually really been wrestling with this lately, and it’s been tough for me to lay down my bullhorn, and to stop turning everything I say or write into some dissertation on what’s wrong with the institutional church. Had coffee with a brother in our area who’s been wrestling with these same issues, and he basically said what you just did, that if we concentrate on making disciples first, then eventually as people become sold out for living for Jesus, where they’re depending solely on Him, and not religious crutches, then the institutional church will not know what to do with them any longer. I guess it sounds pretty obvious, but it was pretty eye-opening to me. I always want to make the first order of business a discussion on how to “be the church”, but I’m realizing that the real starting point is Jesus, period. In my own life, and then in the lives of others. Like you said, if we are serious about that, then God will sort out all the other details…. I just have to be willing to surrender my own little agenda, and let God build His kingdom….

    • Amen. I love it man. I think God is moving many of us in this direction…it’s just too exhausting to try and convince others anymore…We’ve got to focus on living out the Gospel and making disciples. The ONLY other side that I see to this is our lack of “Spiritual Fathers” to mentor and guide young people as they pursue a “new way” of living for Christ. It sucks that today’s American Christian leaders are OPPOSING young people who feel this call, and not releasing, and affirming them. That is the only case that I will feel the need to discuss how to “do” church with anyone: if there is a possibility that it will help them to make a shift towards releasing people, and affirming them. Glad to know i’m not alone! Take care!

  5. Huh, that’s interesting to hear that your experience has been one of frustration regarding how young people are not being released, and there being a lack of “spiritual fathers”. For us, we’ve felt like there have been very few people who are even close to us in age (unlike you guys, which is maybe why we think you’re so cool…) who are wrestling with these issues. Seems like we come across way more people who are in their 40’s or 50’s, and have only recognized the institutional church for what it is after years of unsavory experiences with it’s business-related aspects…. Sometimes it feels like younger people are more interested in finding a form of church that is “cool” enough, instead of one that actually resembles what we see in the Bible. For me, the debate has never really been about “attractional” vs. “missional”, but rather, “huge-expensive-waste-of-money” vs. “free”…. Okay, I’m already ranting again…. My bad.

    • Ya, we have some great connections with older people who support us. I have been lucky enough to have some great Spiritual Fathers along the way as I have begun exploring new things. They have supported me, and I don’t know if I could have dealt with the opposition from so many others (friends, family, other pastors, etc.) had those men not been there for me. Unfortunately, the majority of young people who are involved in our communities, or that our organization trains to start their own simple churches typically feel ALL alone. There may be a couple others on their campus, or in their city. However, for the most part they are being accused by their pastors, etc. of being rebellious and without accountability. So, we have been putting together a NATION-WIDE mentoring/”Spiritual Fathering” program where young people get connected in a mentoring relationship with a “seasoned” practitioner of a new way of making disciples who make disciples. It started a few months ago and we are already seeing major fruit as a result. There is a sense of family throughout the country, and these young people no longer feel alone, but know there are hundreds of others all over pursuing similar things. I’d love to talk with you more about this…you’d make a great mentor for some of these students…=)

  6. Like a chameleon, spiritual arrogance changes colors but it is the same lizard underneath. If I could only count the times I have witnessed a person be freed by Jesus from one set of rules/ideas/thoughts only to be reconsumed in another area. This is rooted in a lack of trust. We start accepting people where they are at when we understand they are in the hands of Christ, and we know that this is the best place for them. So, there are people who judge people/movements for “how” they do things. Is Christ threatened by them? Then why are we? Do we really think he needs us to go before him?

    When we are consumed with needing to change other people, or prove that we are right, that is when we are not present. That is when our eyes close to the needs around us. That is when people begin to look like enemies. We start living in the head – in a big debate where we are proving our point over and over.

    We live in such an either/or world but God is not that way. God uses the big gathering of believers AND the small gathering of believers AND the new believer AND the non-instrumental gathering of believers AND the Wal-mart employee AND anyone he wants to use…

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