Month: July 2008

Dunbar on Missional Antibodies

In his latest missional journal, David Dunbar addresses “Missional Antibodies.” After a discussion of shifts in leadership practice and theory, he pulls in Roxburgh’s perspective:
Alan Roxburgh discusses the anxiety over marginalization that has led pastors in late modernity to “the continual search for ways to reconfigure pastoral identity.” ††This has resulted in three common images, all of which he argues, remain within the paradigm of modernity.

1.†† the therapeutic – pastor as counselor
2.†† the technical-rational – pastor as CEO/manager/entrepreneur
3.†† the creator of community – pastor as facilitator of body-life [4]

Less is more

These critiques highlight two important issues that need to be addressed by leaders in the missional church.† The first is the tendency toward elitism in current models of leadership.† The pastor as scholar/teacher and as technician/professional reinforces a strong top-down understanding of spiritual authority and ministry.† The expectation is that ministry leaders can (or should) know it all and do it all. This of course puts more pressure on pastors to “prove” themselves in a culture of rising leadership expectations.

Read Dunbar’s whole article here.

The Fallout of Subjective Truth

if Truth is objective, if we live in a world we did not create and cannot change merely by thinking, if the world is not really a dream of our own, then the most destructive belief we could possibly bleieve would be the denial of this primary fact. It would be like closing your eyes while driving, or blissfully ignoring the doctor’s warnings.

– C.S. Lewis, “The Poison of Subjectivsim” in Christian Reflections

Four Thoughts On Worship

Last night I led our Worship Team in a short devotional based on 1 Peter 4:7-11. I shared four main thoughts:

God-glorifying Worship is Christ-centered Worship
According to Peter, our gifts, our service, our love, our prayers, our hospitality all exist in “order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” To glorify something is not to make it bigger than it is, but rather to demonstrate it’s inherent centrality. It is the difference between magnifying through a Telescope and a Microscope. How do we magnify God? Through Jesus Christ. We do this in two key ways: Creation and Redemption. As artists and technicians we can approach God because he made us in Jesus (Col 1; Heb 1). We can worship God as artists and technicians because Jesus has bought our spot with his blood. We do not merit God’s presence in any way; it is a gift of himself to us. All things in through and for Jesus. Creation & Redemption. We worship because we were made and remade through him. His once for all sacrifice secures our spot as worshippers.

You are Not Your Gift
A Gift is a gift; it isn’t you or yours. The gift is a stewardship, something given for the good, the service of others. Its not really yours…if anything its theirs; it belongs to the Church. Your spiritual and musical talent is something given to you by God. You didnít earn it. It is a stewardship. You are honing your gift, employing it in the service of the church, just as people with the gift of service are serving you in set-up. The gift is for the good of the church. The gift isnít you, though it is your expression. I am not my sermons, though my preaching is an expression of me. I am constantly working on not seeking praise but seeking criticism so that I can serve our church better with Godís word. It is a gift given for service, for the good of others, for worship. You are not your gift. Your significance does not fluctuate with how well you set up, play an instrument or run sound. Your gift is not about you. Lead from your significance in Jesus not for your significance. Lead in the Strength that God supplies. This word “supplies” is used of a choral leader, of abundantly furnishing a chorus for a drama. God is rich in strength to supply others-serving, Christ-centered worship. These musical undertones remind us that worship comes from God in rich supply. God is more committed to his praise than we are and is disposed to lead us, fuel us in worship leading!

Love Covers a Multitude of Technical Difficulties
You guys seem to love one another, to really be striving for unity and mutual concern. Everyone helps out with set up and tear down. There seems to be very little grumbling or complaining. This is a wonderful expression of Jesus in you. Cultivate it! I have read of horror stories of division between the technical people and the musical people. Where people get really edgy and irritable that they have to turn their amp down or monitor up. You arenít above this. So itís important that you cultivate love for one another, show hospitality to one another without grumbling, keeping the centrality of Jesus in view in all things. We need to create a space in our Worship Teams that fosters kind, thoughtful ciritique and encouragement. If your identity is wrapped up with your music, then you will be slow to give encouragement and unreceptive to critique. The more your identity is wrapped up with Jesus, you will be able to consider your craft critically. You are all equal in Christ and different in function. Everyone doesnít lead or set up. But you can all arrive at the same time and help unload equipment. In setting up and tearing down we need to practice hospitality. This means that those responsible for set up should serve without grumbling and those who play should play without grumbling. You are all equal in Jesus. To believe anything else is to believe a lie. Band should help unload. There is no higher tier of artist.

Worship Begins with Prayer

Worship starts with prayer, with confessing our inability to worship Christ on our own. With confessing that all things are in through and for Jesus, including worship. Worship is not something we manufacture; it is the giving of God himself to us. We have things backwards. Practice, practice, practice and pray for five minutes. Letís be aware that worship is fueled by prayer. The end of all things is coming. Letís pray for Godís presence not for musical perfection. Letís pray that our church would be full-time worshippers, not Sunday service singers. Letís pray that worship would result in mission, the making of more worshippers in this city.