Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Performing Communities

a Biblical thought...
But the LORD, who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices. You must always be careful to keep the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. Rather, worship the LORD your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies." (2 Kings 17:36-39)

a Book thought...
The unChristian faith - hypocritical, judgmental, and full of empty moral striving - is what Paul warned his readers about! And it is part of the reason we are known as hypocrites. (p52)
a Dave thought...
I came across a fabulous new blog this week from Mark Driscoll who I've added to my blog roll to the right where I read this fascinating post by Tim Chester.

I was recently asked to speak on communities of grace. So I got to thinking: What is the opposite of a community of grace? And I came to the conclusion that it's a community of performance. Communities of performance may talk a lot about grace, but they value performance—Christians who have it all figured out, churches that run smoothly, meetings that are accomplished. And so they communicate that what matters is that you perform well.

Communities of Performance
The leaders appear to have it all figured out
The community appears respectable
Meetings must be a polished performance
Failure is devastating, because identity is found in ministry
Actions are driven by duty
Conflict is suppressed or ignored
The focus is on orthodox behavior (letting people think they have it all figured out)

Communities of Grace
The leaders are vulnerable
The community is messy
Meetings are just one part of community life
Failure is disappointing but not devastating, because identity is found in Christ
Actions are driven by joy
Conflict is addressed in the open
The focus is on the affections of the heart (with a strong view of sin and grace)

In performance-oriented churches, people pretend to be okay because their standing within the church depends on it. But this is the opposite of grace. Grace acknowledges that we're all sinners, all messed up, all struggling. And grace also affirms that in Christ we all belong, all make the grade, all are welcome.

I'm not sure about you but I have to admit I've been a part of some performing communities over the years. I understand the word and love the idea of a community of grace but it is hard in our stage driven model of church today.

Just a thought.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice i think the salvos are often good at grace communities