Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Enough Is Enough

I am beholden to my wife for the latest best way to signal to others the shorthand answer about the nature of our organic church. First, I never, of course, get questions like "what is the nature or purpose of your church?" It is telling that over and over (though this is mostly from Boomers and older) we get as the first question, "how many members do you have?" Sometimes we get "how is your church doing" and when I respond by saying great and rattling off a list of what we've set in motion, the next question is about the numbers of members. In the past I, in my "abstractitutde" often talk about how we don't focus on members, but on leaders, partners, and participants and then make the current stab at the number of each. But I like her reply better. She says "Enough." Enough to start and run a community center, library, free internet center, giveaway room, partner with a health clinic, plant community gardens, hold free concerts, run community forums, offer free meals, and lately cool shelter from the heat alert, and have our gatherings for worship (common meal, conversation, communion and prayers and candles) once a week and often worship with others another time during the week.

If pressed about how many is "enough" to do all that, I'd say twelve, overall, if we could ever get all 12 together at one time. If they marvel that a handful could do all that, all unpaid, then I get a chance to talk about being primarily an incarnational organic instead of an attractional organized church. Then the eyes either glaze over or light up.

In Shane Claiborne's book Jesus For President (see posts somewhere below) he talks about the need to teach children that the question is not 'what do you want to be when you grow up?" but "what kind of X, Y, or Z do you want to be when you grow up?". It is not how many members do you have; it is what kind of members do you have, and about creating a culture that turns them loose on the world.

Type rest of the post here

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