Sunday, June 17, 2007


i've been thinking a lot lately about: the deeply meaningful yet not quite fulfilling employment accompaniment work i've been doing at rectangle; the quirky and potentially viral nature of a-institutional, incarnational structures such as the home church; and the suspicion that i - along with pix, pres and diz - will eventually be plugged back into the evangelical matrix.

anyway, upon this journey i've been nourished by a number of conversations with close friends and, more recently, provoked by a couple of assertions i've stumbled across on the web. here are the aforementioned quotes. if they incite any ideas within you, feel free to drop a comment below.

"A church, much like any other organization (which is what we are even at a local level, whether you like the term or not) needs its balance of dreamers and managers. The dreamers have high ideals and flowery language on their side. After all, who would disagree with the dream of creating a Jesus-loving environment. But in my meager experience, dreamers without managers are bound to suffer from limited efficiency, frustrated partners, and plenty of rhetoric without follow-through. This is especially true of any church plant that desires to grow beyond the living room/coffee shop phase. Good leaders can be methodical without becoming mechanical and spiritual without becoming lazy." - professor chad ragsdale, as buried in the comments on

" In Canada there are close to 24 million people who do not have a personal relationship with Christ!...Canadians dying without Christ: 165,000 souls each year" - jim tune on the impact canada home page.


Before Girl said...

I would have to agree, a little bit. There are plenty of people out there who are great at the personnel side of work, offering good advice, always remember your name amongst 500 people, etc. but can't remember to fill out one form for you for healthcare or return a simple phone call. And then there are others who are great at the paperwork/business side of things but have all the warmth and personality of a wet cat. It's not very often that the two are combined in the same person. And unfortunately, both extremes really overall, suck at what they do.

Generalizations aside, have you ever thought that maybe you are looking for an ideal that doesn't exist? You might be looking too hard and sometimes, if you look too hard you miss out.

g13 said...

thanks for jumping in krista. after i threw these two quotes up on the blog i started to play connect the dots in my own thoughts.

i think that both you and chad are right about the idealist/manager dichotomy. i think both roles are essential to any organization, so it is important to find individual leaders with each strength and bind them together in complementary fashion.

however, in our society, which is so focused on efficiency and metrics, i fear that the managerial perspective will almost always trump the more idealistic perspective. a case in point is suggested by the quote i posted below rags' astute observation.

i don't know about any of you, but i think it would be quite difficult to measure whether or not 24 million canadians either do or do not have a "personal" relationship with Jesus. but even assuming such a poll could be conducted among the canadian populace with something approaching accuracy, i find the assertion that "165,000 souls" die without Christ each year rather difficult to substantiate.

now hear me out, i mean mr. tune no disrespect. i've sat under his teaching before and he's an excellent pastor. however, i think that it is incredibly difficult for christians or anyone else to measure the reconciliation and redemption of God in Christ.

how can anyone judge whether someone dies with or without Christ? Jesus himself claimed that the Spirit of God, and i assume the reconciling work of God, blows this way and that, according to its own purpose and plan. so to assert that this many die "in Christ" and that many die "without Christ" to me is rather ludicrous.

and yet, there is no denying that "saving souls"* is the primary goal of most evangelical ministries. traditional evangelicals claim that this goal flows out of the call of matthew 28:18-20 to "make disciples of all nations" and design most of their ministries to either encourage or support individual conversion.

as an evangelical, i believe in the power of conversion and the need for all things to be reconciled to God. however, i think that this singular focus on conversion truncates the holistic mission and ministry that Christ calls us to.

here's the rub. i think that most other pastors, including the more managerial among us, realize the holistic nature of God's work among us in Christ. but the Church has chosen to focus on conversions because they appear to be a way in which we can measure and quantify the value of a church's ministry.

in essence, i am afraid of reducing the holistic mission of Christ to evangelism simply because it appears to be measurable and can provide others with a metric of God's work through particular churches in particular areas.

i'm talking myself into a corner here. i'm not afraid of church managers, but i am afraid of the reductionism of ministry and meaning that so many managers seem to thrive on.

ugh. my sincere apologies to whoever had to read this.

* which, according to my reading of scripture, was never what Jesus was about anyway.

Agent B said...

"how can anyone judge whether someone dies with or without Christ?"

I have nothing intelligent to add, but a "hell yeah".

Where/when did christians ever get off on deciding who goes where when we die?

Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

In regards to the Canada quote, I'm not sure if I still believe in a "personal" relationship with God like many evangelicals do. I like to think of myself as a follower of Christ, although I don't feel very "successful" in that endeavor.

My personal spiritual status is probably not relevant to this posting, I just had to put that out there. Michael of TN