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Monday, July 02, 2007

adolescent church?

Adolescents are wonderful people, but their lives are usually pretty much wrapped up in themselves. It's all about them all the time. If you are a parent of an adolescent or adult child who was an adolescent, you know the change that happens (or you pray happens). There is some mysterious change when an adolescent begins to see others as more than augments to themselves. They begin to take other people's viewpoints and perspectives into their consideration. They move from being consumers to sharers and producers. They ask questions and listen instead of just spouting their strong opinions.
Have you ever thought about churches in the same way? I know a church that conducts great ministry, but seldom shares the news with others. They have stirring concerts and speakers, but tell no other churches. They host significant services but seldom invite other churches to send representatives. The logic they tell me is that they are kingdom focussed, seeking to reach the lost but not share with the saved. Then there are the churches I know who take great efforts to include other churches and pastors, acknowledging a bigger kingdom and ministry than just them. I was part of a service like that recently where the host pastor invited me to have a more-than-significant role. We are sensing that in Montecito as the M-4 churches are doing ministry together, and avoiding taking individual credit. It's much more funworking with mature, adult churches than with adolscent churches. Mature churches seek to communicate aggressively with those around them in ministry, and adolescent churches have never given this idea a thought. The question I wonder about is this; do churches grow up or can they get stuck in a permanent adolescence?

6 Comments:

At 10:24 PM , Blogger Chris Brooks said...

Great blog Don; very insightful. I miss talking to ya.

 
At 1:31 PM , Blogger Lukester said...

as a late adolescent, I take a small amount of offense at being characterized in a negative manner... Maybe these kinds of posts are the reasons why we are so inward focused. Or maybe we just like to argue and find things wrong with others...

 
At 8:46 PM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

You? Argue? No way!

 
At 8:50 PM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

In all honesty, being called adolescent is not a criticism, but noting a stage of natural development where attention must be self-focussed versus focussed on others. I do not want to be critical of youth in their development but to be critical of adult/mature churches that should carry their own water.

 
At 11:47 PM , Blogger Isaac Johnson said...

careful, don, you'll be on his list. ;)

 
At 11:51 PM , Blogger Isaac Johnson said...

i did the ecumenical nature of santa barbara churches. The whole M-4 grocery totes - good for the environment and for a good cause, the feed my starving children volunteer effort.

I think, perhaps, it's the idea that the good accomplished is more important than getting credit for it. Whether that's a maturity thing is debatable. In a WWJD mode of thinking, i think it makes total sense. Small churches together can do great feats.

 

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