Briefly Pondering My Church Roots ~ BitterSweetLife

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Briefly Pondering My Church Roots

This was going to be one of those throw-away posts announcing that the blogger is back from his road trip, so everyone can finally exhale and stop taking blood pressure medication, but I decided to add a little value.

For the last several days I had the opportunity to attend a pastors' and staff conference hosted by Great Commission Ministries, a church movement that I grew up with, sort of, and my dad continues to pastor within. My current studies at Midwestern, a Southern Baptist seminary, put me in a unique situation with regard to GCM. For various reasons, I was never deeply connected with the association growing up, and have never had strong connections with any regional or national leaders. No doubt that's part of the reason I now find myself at a Baptist school, soaking in a new church culture, and, for the most part, enjoying it.

"Going back" to the Great Commission milieu was fascinating, though. With the benefit, if I can call it that, of years of non-engagement, I found myself aware of and appreciating a variety of elements present in the GCM motif. Here are the foremost among those. (Some of you are wondering if this post is "going anywhere." The answer, at this point, is probably No, unless you like thinking about ecclesiology or listening to me muse about my formation.)

  • humble leaders who cultivate their humility with deliberate accountability
  • an organic, historical, knee-jerk love for church planting--
  • --accompanied by a natural tendency to contextualize for specific American cultures
  • a relational network of people who genuinely love each other
  • warmth and energy in teaching from the Bible
  • clear differentiation between law and liberty, e.g. drinking beer is OK, organizational backstabbing is evil
And there were other things. GCM is a young movement, founded in 1970, and is probably still strengthening its theological roots, but there was a lot to like. I found myself wishing that I could engineer some kind of collision between SBC types and GCM types. Seems like there could be some mutual benefit if such a thing happened.

So, to wrap up this inconclusive post. My new ideal church plant: a collaboration between the SBC, GCM, and Acts 29. Astute, strategically keen methodology married to relational, church-planting energy, powered by street-savvy, tough, Reformed theology. Hard to say if such a thing could ever happen, but it's fun to think about. I have this weird combination of church-cultural roots, and I'm trying to sort them out. But I'll stop now.

You'll feel my next post more, I promise.

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John said...

My new ideal church plant: a collaboration between the SBC, GCM, and Acts 29.

I agree, that would be awesome. Maybe it's not that far off, either!

Noel Heikkinen said...

Closer than any of you think.

Bwa ha ha.

Ariel said...

Sounds like we may have to wait for the press release, John. I hope it goes down.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife