Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The whole pie or a piece of the pie?

If our lives were a pie and the different parts were pieces (work, school, family, etc.), is God interested having the biggest piece or the whole thing?

Last week I was up at Wesley Seminary for a reunion of the Lewis Fellows. (A group that invests in young clergy to give them resources for leadership and the opportunity to develop connections with other young clergy leaders.) During one of the discussions, one of the speakers made an observation that's been bouncing around my mind ever since: In our congregations are we about transformation or merely enlarging our portion of the pie?

This is a really important question, because it shapes life together as Christian community.

If you were to ask most church leaders, 99.9% of them would say that we are about transformation, and rightly so. However, when it comes to how churches operate, it seems the "increasing the faith portion of the pie" is dominant. Worship and faith are just another part of the pie.

If worship and faith are just another piece of the pie, then the goal is to get people in the door. People just showing up at an event is success. This mindset sees all other activity (i.e. school events, community events, work, etc.) as competition. If the church and faith isn't taking up a bigger portion of the pie then it we are losing. This doesn't make better disciples, just busier disciples.

However, the church exist to make disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world. Thus, organizing around transformation looks at everything the church does, from worship to childcare, and everything in between, and asks the question: were lives transformed because of this event? The purpose behind everything is transformation in Christ Jesus.

Participation in a faith community should not be all consuming (of life, time, and resources), but transforming (of how we use our life, time, and resources). Moreover, the church is not the end, but means to God's purposes in the world. In other words we gather to be transformed or to be reminded of our transformation, so that we can go back out into the world as God's transformed people in the places where we work, play, and live: coaching our kid's soccer team, the way we run our businesses, love our co-workers, serving on the PTO, exercising at the gym, etc. Our lives shine the light of Jesus into the world's dark places.

I don't believe God is interested in just a bigger piece of the pie of our lives. No, God is interested in the transformation of the whole thing.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:22 PM

    Thanks, Chris! I very much appreciate your blogs, always. But this one has articulated very clearly what I believe is at the core of discipleship. Hmm...so does this require a paradigm shift? And if so, what does that look like? Just thoughts for me to ponder and pray about...