Mar 21, 2006

short-sighted or far-sighted?

"Master," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us."

"Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you."
(Luke 9:49-50)

Which spirit do you see more often in churches these days?

  • The Jesus spirit:
    • Interested in movement, bridges, and authentic connections.
    • Joyful faith dominates.
    • Four drives:
      • "How can we invite others into this kingdom thing?"
      • "God - how I can join You more?"
      • "What are we missing and what else can we think of?"
      • "How can I help promote the Gospel?"

  • The disciples' spirit:
    • Interested in maintenance, boundaries, and clean living.
    • Uncomfortable fear dominates.
    • Four drives:
      • "How can I protect my own thing and keep it going?"
      • "God - why are you threatening my ministry?"
      • "What can I do to prove my worth?"
      • "How can I help promote the name of my church/denomination?"

I'd love to hear your thoughts... but as a rule - no naming churches/pastors and bashing them.

P.S. Moses and the Israelites had the same issue. Check it out: Numbers 11:24-30


Tom said...

The 2nd or 3rd sermon I ever preached was from this text. It resonates on such a deep level for me. Sadly, we see the disciples' closed-mindedness more frequently, I believe. Denominations in general develop this elitist mindset. Had this man been feeding and clothing the poor, no outcry would have been heard, but rather it is the spectacular ministry of demon exorcism that the disciples felt was their territory alone. The Master correctly points out that once again, size does not matter. A cup of cool water given in the name of Jesus is as special as all of the demons driven out of people.

Anonymous said...

We have a new (last 6 months) associate pastor who is also running the jr/sr youth group as well as the praise band (can we say stretched too thin).
My wife and I (who lead the jr high) had a sit down with him and he said that he was hired to clean out the 'problems' in the youth group (translated, those sinful troublemaker types, you know, the ones that NEED to be at youth group the most). Part of me believes that he sees my wife and I in this same light (as trouble-makers).

Melanie Morales said...

I find it interesting how you defined the two different spirits - because we are undergoing a really long series at our church right now called Restoration of Discipleship. But I think your definition of disciple spirit is how the disciples we read about lived it. Our definition is listening to what Jesus told them. And our congregation actually now has a picture that looks like what you defined as Jesus spirit here. It's a really cool thing to be a part of. It's painful. Because all of those people in the congregation who are of the other nature - they want to protect how it's always been done - and don't share in the new picture, new way of thinking, etc. - some just stretch their faith and receive the blessings from it; others just complain thinking that if they're loud and cranky enough they'll get their way (reminds me of two/three year olds); and then others just get mad and leave. So, it's been a painful process - but definitely worth it.

Mark D said...

I'll use this opportunity to ask a WWTD question (what would Tony do). First off, this is completely hypothetical. Let's say you lived in Detroit and there was a megachurch that offered you a pastoral position. The position came with perks like good stability, a good budget, good benefits, and so forth. However, there was one catch - you had to sign a noncompete form that said you were not allowed to work at a church within 70 miles for 5 years should you depart from the position. Would you sign? What do you think about the fact that they even had a noncompete form? 90% of me is sickened by that kind of limitation when it comes to ministries, but the other 10% sees their point. Unfortunately, there are people who could and would use the knowledge they gained from the experience and build a church down the street, even if the original church was not playing a "competitive" game.

Here's an analogy, and I hope I don't offend anyone who loves Wal-Mart. Where I live, there are two local grocery store chains that have been around since the early 1900's. Until about 10 years ago, they were rivals. Now, however, they work together. A "friendly" rivalry still remains, but the real enemy is Wal-Mart, not each other, and they have stragegized accordingly. They know it would be foolish to focus on outdoing each other when the real enemy could come in and put them both out of business. Why can't we as churches and ministries do the same? Who is our real enemy?

Mark D said...

Oops, I meant to say strategized, not stragegized.

Tony Myles said...

Tom - great insights! You're right - there probably is something more to this since it involves the supernatural realm more specifically.

Anonymous - all new pastors feel the temptation to prove how they are "not" the last guy/gal. Unfortunately, this is more than about ego than anything else. I humbly speak about this from my own choices that I have learned from the hard way.

Melanie - thanks for breaking this down. Sometimes the loudest voice in the room tries to dominate over the whisper of God. We have to be heads up on it.

Mark - having turned down a megachurch job last summer (it was a good situation - I just wasn't called there), I can honestly say that I am not about the "career" but more about the "ministry." So per your hypothetical, if I was called to the church I would jump in... even if it was goofy in that way. My thinking was that maybe I was called to love those policy makers and help them see what really mattered. I don't agree with the idea, but sometimes we are called to work internally for the greater good of the kingdom until the local kingdom shuts it down.

Milton Stanley said...

Looks on-target to me. I quoted liberally from your post on my blog today. Peace.