Listening in to Dan Kimball this afternoon left me wrestling with some comments he made. Dan has been on staff at the Santa Cruz Bible Church for fifteen years. He led the youth, then the college ministry and then a “church within a church” called Graceland. He spent a year filling in as teaching pastor. He is in the process of starting another church. He asked those who attended Graceland, before it dissolved”, “What do you expect of the atmosphere at church?” A follow up question helped clarify. Is church really about what songs are sung, what style of music is played, if we get our three/four application points? Each of these make church out to be the one hour celebration service. Is it the case?
8 comments on “What is church?”
A microcosm of the same struggles can be found in Sunday School as well. The questions are slightly different, but it seems to boil down to two questions. 1.) What functions are not just endorsed, but actively supported by the membership? 2.) Is that enough?
this year, just a few months ago, my wife and I joined a church plant…and we are struggling with the same questions. One thing I ‘ve realized is that what ever the people expect the “culture” or “atmosphere” is more or less a collection of the sum of the people in our church. What I mean is this (and this is only from my past communities of faith.) Whenever we, we being the “core” group, try to create something that God has not birthed in the heart of the community always seems to fail. To me it’s kinda like you “skills” post…everyone has their part…and if they step up to their part it’s all good…so maybe instead of “creating” a culture we need to just expose it by exposing people to their God given places in the body of Christ. Man…this seems too simple I almost feel dumb writing it. Just my rambling thoughts…
So where DID you hear Dan Kimball? Was it live or on the internet? Inquiring minds want to know…..
actually he came and spoke at the church I was @ The Bridge in So Cali with Greg Russinger…have you ehard of it ? Anyways we were at a convention/conversation with about 150 people over a 3 day period called Soliton Network…David Ruis was there and so was the guy from Mosaic in Pasadena i forgot his name….Dan talked about helping us define our pomo culture by looking into our church history…like the saint and monk and a more ancient faith….it was really mind blowing when everyone else is trying to make pomo such a new thing it was refreshing to be able to say others in our past have actually done “some” things right…hehe
This is a good question that I think all churches (esp those that are struggling) are asking. We asked this question at our church and the answers were varied and in some ways, inspiring. I found that the general attitude may be summed up this way (my paraphrase):
‘The church is comprising of us, those who are already here. Minister to us and we’ll invite our friends. Don’t make it something you think we should do- that only makes us feel like we’re not doing something we should. Find out what makes us tick, minister to us- and, we’ll be inspired and invite others. You do that and we’ll grow both spiritually and numerically.’
I realize this sounds very lay-like but there is also lots of truth here. Mining that truth is what I am trying to do.
Craig and Dan – I work with Spencer Burke with ETREK Collaborative Learning Journeys. Dan was a guest for our students in the current course Spencer is leading. You may be interested in the future to take a look at http://www.etrek.com.
Thanks for the info on Dan Kimball. I have his book and have just skimmed parts of it. I’ll also check out etrek.com.
Another interesting read is The Church in Emerging Culture. One the perspectives is the guy from the Mosaic church along with a wide range of views ranging from EO to reformed to “mainstream evangelical”
The opening essay by Leonard Sweet is very good too. Our ETREK groups spoke with Brian McLaren about this book while it was being written. Interesting insight. If you have not read McManus’s, “Unstoppable Force”, it is a good read on his understanding of church.