The Functional Church Blog

koinonia * kerygma * diakonia * marturia

Archive for the ‘legacy’ Category

What is church for?

Posted by functionalchurch on 2012/12/04

Enjoyed this video from Seth Godin regarding school. Take a look.

I have a similar question: What is church for?

We debate about what church is? Some would say, “A church is a big building that sits on the corner of our street.” Others would counter by saying, “No. It’s not a building. A church a group of people who gather together to worship God.” Actually both are true, if you look at the dictionary definition of “church” so there is no need for us to argue over that one anymore 🙂

But have you ever thought about what church is for? Can an understanding of why we do church help us in defining it? Millard Erickson talks about two aspects of defining church in his Christian Theology (Chapter 49). One is the essence of the church or the church’s nature. We use biblical and philosophical ways to answer this. The other is empirical. This is the church as it is lived out in the world. I think that perhaps we have focussed too much on trying to find the church’s essence that we have neglected its functionality.

Godin’s argument is that once we understand what school is for, we will be able to adapt/change what we are doing now so that we can actually meet our goal. I would argue the same for church. If we don’t know why we do church on Sunday (or whatever other day you do it — the concept is the same, just a different schedule 🙂 then how will we know we are meeting our goal?

 

So, how would you answer the question, “What is church for?” Do you agree with your answers?

Advertisements

Posted in church, church impact, ecclesiology, legacy | 2 Comments »

What is the Good News? Certainly not this!

Posted by functionalchurch on 2011/02/23

I first came across Bill’s story quite by chance doing some surfing through Wikipedia. It interested me a little but not enough to research any furhter. Then I came across this post on Anthony Bradley’s blog and got another perspective.

Reading this made me emotional. I was sad as I read Bill’s story. But when I got to his description of his parents’ religion I got angry. Let’s see what you think:

 

If you’re unfamiliar with the situation, my parents are fundamentalist Christians who kicked me out of their house and cut me off financially when I was 19 because I refused to attend seven hours of church a week.

They live in a black and white reality they’ve constructed for themselves. They partition the world into good and evil and survive by hating everything they fear or misunderstand and calling it love. They don’t understand that good and decent people exist all around us, “saved” or not, and that evil and cruel people occupy a large percentage of their church. They take advantage of people looking for hope by teaching them to practice the same hatred they practice.

A random example:

“I am personally convinced that if a Muslim truly believes and obeys the Koran, he will be a terrorist.” – George Zeller, August 24, 2010.

If you choose to follow a religion where, for example, devout Catholics who are trying to be good people are all going to Hell but child molestors go to Heaven (as long as they were “saved” at some point), that’s your choice, but it’s fucked up. Maybe a God who operates by those rules does exist. If so, fuck Him.

Their church was always more important than the members of their family and they happily sacrificed whatever necessary in order to satisfy their contrived beliefs about who they should be.

I grew up in a house where love was proxied through a God I could never believe in. A house where the love of music with any sort of a beat was literally beaten out of me. A house full of hatred and intolerance, run by two people who were experts at appearing kind and warm when others were around. Parents who tell an eight year old that his grandmother is going to Hell because she’s Catholic. Parents who claim not to be racist but then talk about the horrors of miscegenation. I could list hundreds of other examples, but it’s tiring.

 

What right do these people have in calling themselves followers of Jesus? Then I was reminded of the Pharisees in Jesus’ day who seemed to get it really wrong even though they so badly thought they (and only they) were getting it right. How does the good news get messed up so badly?

Here is the post in full over at Anthony Bradley’s blog:

Bill Zeller’s Painful Suicide Note–Sexual Abuse & PTSD + A Conservative Christian Home = Suicide – The Institute.

It does lead me to ask myself, however: How am I getting it wrong in my presentation of the good news? What are you doing right?

Posted in Anthony Bradley, christian life, christianity, ethics, good news, legacy, truth-telling | Leave a Comment »

Anthony Bradley’s Functional church made practical –> On “loving the city” long-term

Posted by functionalchurch on 2011/02/23

Functional church anyone? This guy (Anthony Bradley) has got the idea right. But not just the idea, the practice that goes with it! He doesn’t care about forms and appearances but is solely concerned with church engaging society. I like it a lot (even if it is scary).

A functional church really has to get down to this level — the behind-the-scenes-not-pretty-but-really-where-the-problem-is kind of stuff.

It’s one thing to set up a place to get together and talk but it is quite another to take a stand and try to root out some really issues.

Here is the link to the article:

On “loving the city” long-term (in contrast to well-intentioned hipster, neo-paternalistic versions) – The Institute.

What things would you add to the list?

Posted in Anthony Bradley, church, church impact, discipleship, ecclesiology, ethics, good news, kingdom of god, legacy, marturia, missional, personal impact, service, transformation | Leave a Comment »

poop

Posted by functionalchurch on 2008/05/26

The other day I was watching one of my favourite TV shows: Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. In Episode 34 he was working for the day in a candy store somewhere in small-town USA. One of the jobs he had to do was create dog-poop candy. No, the ingredients did not include actual dog poop. Rather, they used chocolate and some well-placed peanuts to create the impression that one was in fact eating dog poop.

As you get to be my age [not that old but old enough to be thinking about these things] you start to think about legacy. What is the purpose of my life? What will I leave behind when I die? Will I do enough so that my kids will have a better life that I had?

I thought about that as I read the story of Ahab in the Bible. He was the King of Israel many years ago. God had wanted him to be faithful to his plan for his country but he decided to go his own way. He married the neighbouring king’s daughter, Jezebel who promptly proceeded to kill all the prophets of God. In the end they both died dishonourable deaths, condemned by their actions against God.

Which brings us back to the issue of “poop.” Do you know what legacy Jezebel left behind? Poop. Yes, poop. The story in 2 Kings 9:36-37 says: ‘Dogs will eat Jezebel’s body inside the walls of Jezreel. Jezebel’s corpse will be like manure [poop] on the ground in the fields surrounding Jezreel so that no one will be able to say that this is Jezebel.’”

What kind of legacy are you leaving behind?

I hope mine isn’t poop.

Posted in christian life, church impact, legacy, personal impact | Leave a Comment »

what is the truth?

Posted by functionalchurch on 2008/05/26

What is the truth? In the Jim Carrey movie, Liar Liar, a lying attorney is faced with the issue of having to tell the truth all the time. Of course, in typical Jim-Carrey fashion, the story is a little outrageous, but it does raise an interesting question in each of our minds: Am I a truth-teller or just another liar?

Of course, I feel this in the greatest way with my kids. How many times have I promised, “I’ll play with you when I’m done” but then started something new? Or set a standard for their behaviour that I then went on to ignore in my own life.

When I was a child our family had a rule: No TV shows about murder for the kids. One night I realised that my parents were watching a show that featured a murder. The next morning I said that it seemed unfair for us to not be able to watch but ok for them. Do you know what they did? They agreed and subjected themselves to their own rule. As I type I am asking myself if I would do the same thing in my own family? (Do I have to answer that?)

Actually if truth be told, we did face this in our family just the other day. In our family, we have decided that it is improper to use the s-word (not that s-word! This one has 6 letters and refers to a person’s intellectual capacity or lack thereof). My assumption was that it was the kids who couldn’t use it but I – being the father – could use whatever word I want. Of course, they called me on it. So now I have agreed that the rule applies to me also.

As a church leader I find it difficult to know how much of a truth-teller I should be. It may sound strange, but it’s true. There are so many factors to take into account: What is my relationship to the person I need to confront with the truth? Am I the best person to do the confronting or is there someone else? If I confront someone with the truth today, will our relationship ever be the same again? Is it really all that bad, whatever it is they are doing? Going beyond the basic relationships I may have from day-to-day, how about those things that I see in our society that are wrong? How do I confront them? Do I really have a say in the corruption of our nation? Do I really have a say in how various government agencies operate? Can I really do anything about a system that pervades every family home? How effective is my truthfulness when I drive? Isn’t it bad to impose my own cultural values on someone else?

I guess it comes down to how much I believe the truth. Have I been truly convinced of the need to extend my personal views of truth into the marketplace?

Mike Fast welcomes feedback on any of the articles he writes. Please leave your comments below.

Posted in church, church impact, ethics, leadership training, legacy, marturia, pastoral training, personal impact, transformation, truth-telling | Leave a Comment »

you have to work twice as hard when it’s honest

Posted by functionalchurch on 2005/07/12

how much impact has your belief made on your life?

in the classic movie “gone in 60 seconds,” sway (played by angelina
jolie), when asked why she has two jobs, says, “i found you have to work
twice as hard when it’s honest.”

that got me thinking this morning as i was taking the kids to school.
while on the jeepney i saw an advertisement from a local motel. motels
where we live are places to have sex. sometimes you bring your own
partner (rarely your spouse) and sometimes a partner is provided for
you. rooms are available by the hour. it is really a big issue here–our
area of quezon city has several such motels.

but the question arises, what if one of these motel owners becomes a
christian? how does that affect his business?

the advertisement i saw was for the kabayan hotel, which used to be a
typical motel. then the owner became a christian and realised that he
could no longer, in good conscience, maintain that type of business. he
realised he had two choices:

choice #1. sell the motel to someone else. in his way of thinking this
was not an option since the new owner would simply start up his/her own
version of the same kind of business and the sin would continue. the
problem would not be solved.

choice #2: transform that business into something that would positively
influence the local community. he decide to remarket the motel as a
place for families. couples are not allowed to check in together without
a valid marriage certificate. the top floors have been designated as
prayer floors, with little cubicles where one can stay and pray for as
long as they want.

how has that choice affected business? profits are way down. honesty
doesn’t always reap financial rewards.

how has the choice affected the community? the impact on the community
is great. the hotel and its owner are being held up as an examples of
morality and integrity.

how much impact has your belief made on your life?

Posted in christian life, church impact, ethics, legacy, sin, temptation, transformation | Leave a Comment »

your pastor

Posted by functionalchurch on 2005/07/06

have you ever thought about your pastor and what it has taken for him to be who he is? what makes him a good pastor?

his personality?
his training?
his love for god?
his love for you?

just what is it?

how much work did he have to do to get to be who his is today? some stuff is caught and some stuff is taught: how much of what makes him who he is is taught?

my own seminary training really prepared me well for life in the ministry.

i got a good biblical foundation,
i got a good theological foundation,
i got a good handle on who i am as a leader.

but most importantly, i learned how to think.

my job involves teaching pastors how to think so they can face the world and find solutions to its problems.

Posted in leadership, leadership training, legacy, pastoral training | Leave a Comment »

monkey world

Posted by functionalchurch on 2005/07/06

i was watching “monkey world” on animal planet the other day and it had this couple who basically built a zoo for monkeys over the past 15 years. i wondered where they got their funding and realised that they found groups and individuals who shared their passion for monkeys! my passion is not monkeys (not by any stretch of the imagination!!!). my passion is training pastors. so i began to ask myself the following questions:

1. who has a passion for pastoral training and churchplanting? in the Philippines? in Canada? in the US?

2. what kinds of people are they? pastors? professors? schools?

3. are there businesses/ businessmen (ie. people with financial resources) who are into seeing pastors trained?

4. how can i partner with them here in south east asia so we can continue our pastoral training and churchplanting?

do you have the answers to my questions?

Posted in leadership, leadership training, legacy, pastoral training | 1 Comment »