Monday’s are for Discussion
Maybe. But here’s the line of reasoning I’m following.
Both MacArthur’s Grace Community Church (whose theology I largely admire), and Osteen (whose church and theology I largely disdain) are alike in that they are, in the main, ATTRACTIONAL in approach (See here for a personal comment). That is, they are built, viewed from one angle, on the principle that “if we build a better mousetrap people will come.” One does a lot of “selling” (Osteen), one does almost no selling of itself (MacArthur and Grace Community).
Further, most churches in America are attractional in approach and are somewhere in between these two polar opposite churches. They all design much of their ministry around doing what they do well being the foundational way of drawing people to them. They are built on the idea that:
If we preach a better gospel, if we tell a better story, if we have better music, if we have more hymns, if we have fewer hymns, if we have more choruses, if we have a blended service, if we have cleaner bathrooms, better advertising, preach expositionally, preach topically, preach longer, preach shorter, have a better parking lot, etc. If we just do what we do better God will cause our church and our people to grow.
The unintended consequence of ministry structured in this way is that those we are called to equip for the work of the ministry begin to think that ministry is that which occurs within the sanctified hours and confines of our church buildings. The congregation begins to think that the Great Commission is “Go into all the world and invite them to your churches” rather than go into all the world and make disciples.
So there it is. A bold statement to be the backdrop to a Monday Discussion.
Here’s the question: How do we keep our congregations on mission for God (taking the gospel to the culture) when the structures through which we shepherd them create barriers to their understanding of mission?