Church Shifts

David Gibbons speaks of the need to develop a "liquid culture" in church leadership in his book "The Monkey and the Fish".  He describes this liquid culture as fluid and flowing as it moves.  It adapts to obstacles while still moving forward.  Gibbons has correctly identified that most church's have rigid organizational structures and leadership that is based upon a culture that disappeared 50 years ago.  For a interesting video, check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLQfhxDld7E

My friend and Church Coach, Mike McFerrin has developed the "Law of the river".  This law is to describe the church as a movement of God that is "powerfully and relentlessly pursuing its goal" while adapting its shape to do so.   That shape is dependent upon the culture in which the river is to flow, not despite it.

Gibbons describes 3 shifts that must take place for a church to have a liquid culture and remain relevant in our communities:

1. From people centered to Christ centered:  What if the essence of our being was the fulfillment of the mission of Jesus as opposed to our own development, happiness, or neediness.  Yes, our walk with Jesus develops us, fulfills us, and gives us joy, but what if that is a result of being Christ Centered and not a condition of it?

2. From consumer focused to Cause focused.  Consumerism is imbedded in American society.  We select churches like we shop for groceries: What most meets my needs and desires while costing the least?  In that vein, people go from church to church, seeking to find the vendor of religious goods that most satisfies the desires of the day.  The cause focused approach allows people to be drawn into community around common purposes in which they are not the primary beneficiary.

3. From church emphasis to community emphasis.  Gibbons suggests that churches that have a majority of its programming, resources, and staffing focused upon meeting the needs of the congregation, as opposed to those outside the church, that the church becomes rigid, defensive, and irrelevant to the community at large.  Its an easy trap to fall into as part of the mission of Jesus is to make disciples.  We must understand that evangelism is the initiation of discipleship.

Christ, Cause, and Community!  How liquid is your church?  Has it lost its relevancy?  Perhaps you are a Christian who does not attend a church because you have not found the "right church ".  If that describes you please reread bullet point #2.  Lets begin to become the movement that God desires his Church to be by changing our focus and shifting to that which matters to God.

Blessings,

Pastor M Traylor