Archive for October 2012

Leader: How Charismissional Are You (and Your Church?)

Leader: How Charismissional Are You (and Your Church?)

By Keith Gamon

A recent set of discussions surrounding this whole debate with other leaders from our family of churches called Newfrontiers has got me thinking. Rather than regurgitate the discussions, I thought it might be helpful to produce a working application. Obviously there is the responsibility of all church leaders to think through how this applies as well as the theory behind it but time can be limited for many and this working assessment may prove helpful. So I will attempt to help us ask questions in the following way. Are we Charismatic (Spirit filled) and are we missional (prioritising outreach):

1)      In our own lives?

2)      In our church on Sundays, and in the lives of those in our church?

(Starting with our own lives keeps us from being professional and disconnected from reality)

 

1)      Our own lives? Am I Spirit filled and prioritising outreach in my own life?

Charismatic:

Do I depend on the Holy Spirit daily? Do I sound like Paul who loved the things of the Spirit and for example said he… “spoke in tongues more than any other.” 1 Cor 14v18. Do I look for the miraculous in my own life, my family, the church? Am I hungry for an encounter with God every time I meet with him or am in a Christian meeting? Am I hungry for him even when I’m leading the meeting? Do I find myself wanting worship times to end so that I can get onto “being fed”? **health warning**

Mission:

This is way bigger than I first thought. It’s been too easy to think that my pastorally driven and church occupied existence as a leader justifies the little time availability I have for those who don’t know Jesus. Turns out, not only is it immature but also is not helping me or my church be missional. Positively put, if I am developing meaningful (not just evangelism fodder) friendships with friends outside of church and eventually bringing them to church events (even Sundays) this will dramatically affect how we do Sundays!

Before I concern myself with how missional Sundays are or how missional church people are, what am I like? Have I got lazy? Did I only do outreach to get the church planted and to get a ministry for myself? Tough questions need honest answers. However I still love it when friends come to church as well as the times conversation turns to more “spiritual” matters when enjoying pizza and beer together. They don’t think I’m just hanging out with them to “win them,” because I’m not!

 

2)      In our church on Sundays, and in the lives of those in our church?

These are also different matters but obviously connected. In other words, Sundays are not everything but they give a good indicator of the health of a church.

We can’t just lead in the right way, if our churches are not living missionally Mon-Sat then we are missing something in our teaching and equipping of them.

 

Charismatic: In their lives, Monday to Saturday?

Essentially this is the same set of questions we used for ourselves. Are our people hungry for God? Do they know a regular encounter and infilling of the Holy Spirit? Are most of our church Spirit filled? Have we taught and brought them through to the things of the Spirit?

Mission: In their lives, Monday to Saturday?

Do people in our church love to be with those outside the church? Do they socialise with unbelievers? Have we put on too many church meetings and not left enough time for this? What percentage of Alpha guests come through personal invitation rather than cold invites? This can be a scary set of questions.

Charismatic on Sundays?

Are people enjoying God regularly? As an indicator of the experience of the whole congregation, do I and my wider leadership genuinely encounter the Holy Spirit in worship? Do we hear the prophetic gift regularly? How many gifts are expressed on a Sunday? Is there a growing number of people who might contribute?

Mission on Sundays?

Have we learnt how to view things through 1 Cor 14 lenses. Do we love our neighbour nearly as much as we love God? (Mark 12 v28-34). Do we think Sundays are mainly for Christians? If so why was Paul convinced that they could have unbelievers in their midst in any and every public meeting (1 Cor 14). Do we understand that Corinth had got worship times nearly 100% wrong? Therefore, Paul was correcting them in 1 Cor 12-14. Intelligibility and edification for believers and unbelievers was huge for Paul in 1 Cor 14. Have we worked out the difference between biblical obstacles and unbiblical obstacles? Biblical obstacles can be an offence to people and its ok, unbiblical obstacles are sin on the part of the Christians who construct them! Paul saw incessant and public tongue speaking as unhelpful but saw the right use of tongues and prophecy as the opposite. The former an unbiblical obstacle based on showmanship, the latter a potential biblical obstacle but equally a potential avenue for salvation.

Biblical obstacles include: the cross, biblical wisdom and teaching, the gospel, the uniqueness of Christ, one way, the depravity of man.

Unbiblical obstacles may include: our way of doing things is the only way, evangelical law making, tongues in every setting and all the time, in house joking, unfriendliness to outsiders, neglecting people, 4 hours of worship followed by an hour of prayer for healing of the emotions, 2 hour sermons, no explanation given for anything unusual to an outsider.

Are we still using the following meaningless and unhelpful lingo? Tongues, testimony, non-Christian…

Are we still assuming people know what is meant by certain words: sin, reconciliation, redemption, salvation, grace, law, sanctification….this list is long!

 

Hopefully these questions and reflections will help to stimulate conversation and assessment so that we do both better and in balance, live Spirit filled lives that are heaven-bent on seeing our friends come to know Jesus.

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Posted October 23, 2012 by silklifechurch in Leadership