Not Different but Faithful

I had a great conversation with some friends and our discussion found its way to the discussion of church. I know, me talking about the nature of the Church, surprise surprise!!!  Anyways, one friend knowing my long term goal to do a church plant, asked how I would ensure that I did not fall into the routine of what most churches fall into, and how I would ensure I would be different.

I am satisfied with the answer I gave, I basically said that my goal is not to be different. My main critique of some of the emerging dialogue going on is not with approach or style, but with the goals it has. This is not the first person to articulate a desire to be different. And I know beneath that there are stronger convictions that recognize that the church indeed has not always been faithful nor relevant to God and the communities it serves. However, it still seems to be a reaction centered type of thinking to me.

I too am very frustrated with the Western Church as a whole and especially American churches. However, my main focus is not on how to be different than them, it is more on how to be faithful to God. For me I must ask the question, “What does a faithful Church look like in the 21st Century?” And after continually going back to God’s Word, praying, and being shaped by other believers in Christ who are asking the same question, a Kingdom imagination breaks forth, from which the Spirit gives discernment on what that might look like. And then I repeat the process again.

For me I want to make sure that I am lined up with what God is doing, and do not become just another approach that happens to be very different. I desire that God direct me on how I and my ministry can align with what God is doing. Everything centers around what God is doing first, and then me being a faithful participant in God’s doings.

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7 comments

  1. tim · February 20, 2009

    Pastor drew,

    Your title says it all. Not different but faithful.

    We should receive our mission via a direct download from God alone rather than creating our own podcast that preaches our own passions or views. I believe we all have callings and we need to be faithful and follow His 411.

    “What if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t accept to head up the Bus Boycott, what if Abram had never left everything he knew to follow the voice of God, what if… I can go on and on”

    The spirit of God is with you.

    be Faithful. He will provide all your needs and bless many people through your ministry!

    In Christ Alone!

  2. the wordsmith · February 23, 2009

    I agree: Not different, but faithful. Here’s where I think the term different applies:

    Let’s consider mission and vision. The mission statement of a ministry should reflect its goals and why it exists. That’s the mission.

    Vision on the other hand is what it’s going to look like when it’s successful. In my years of ministry I have found that while mission may remain constant, what it looks like often evolves as God works out His plan. Our assembly has not changed it mission statement, but I’m sure it looks a lot different now than our elders envisioned it years ago.

    Whatever you see in your spirit right now may look a lot different before God is through.

  3. blackwasp19 · February 23, 2009

    You are on point with this. God does not call us to try to be different, radical, or any other en vogue term. He calls us to be faithful. That faithfulness might lead us to being different or radical, but the focus is on us being committed to God, not us being different.

    On a different note. Few would actually say that every church in America has lost focus, but sometimes when we speak so much about the brokenness of American churches, we ignore some of the successes of both the American churches and American church. Acknowledging the good and the bad and having a properly critical view moves us away from pursuing different-ness to pursuing a faithfulness that may or may not have been present in our predecessors.

  4. the wordsmith · February 26, 2009

    I’m feeling that. We all know that “the church” has its points of failure. It’s not hard to point out what is wrong with the church. We need also to remember what’s “right” with the church.

    It has the right Founder: 1 Cor. 1:2

    It has the right Foundation: Luke 6:48

    It has the right Future: 1 Thess. 4:16,17

  5. internet elias · February 26, 2010

    Good post. Interesting. To be faithful, one must have a one-on-one relationship with Christ, by way of the Holy Comforter. Christ is a real ‘being.’ Though a part of the soveriegn Godhead, He is a Spirit person. No physcal body, but REAL all the same. Yet we treat Him as though He does not exist. No communication…no fellowship. No fellowship…no ‘faithful.’ 🙂 When we are truly faithful, we are allowing Him to work His heart and mind through our hearts and minds. The outcomes will be servitude performed in selfless LOVE.

    The ‘church’ is people…not buildings.

    Again, good post.

    Carolyn /internetelias.wordpress.com

  6. Brint · February 26, 2010

    Brother Drew –

    I couldn’t agree more. John 17:16 notwithstanding, Jesus does not call us to be different, but faithful. Thing is, true faithfulness will always bear the fruit of an otherworldly Difference that is often known as “holiness” (roughly translated as “set-apart-ness”). Yet Difference, simply as an end of itself, will never guide a person upon a path of faithfulness.

    Yes, the world hungers for difference – something true, and real, and everlasting, and suffused with eternal meaning, in contrast to the ultimate transience of this world (cf. John 4:15). Yet as Christians, we must not answer the world’s call for “difference,” but rather heed Christ’s call to “faithfulness” – for that, indeed, shall make ALL the difference.

    Blessings on your ministry —

  7. notesalongthepath · February 28, 2010

    Hi Drew,
    Your commitment to God and His will is awesome, especially because it is so unusual in these times. May you inspire many young people along your path.
    Pam B

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