Saturday, October 17

Seven Steps Toward Renewal

Before you dismiss "mystics," read the following from Richard Foster. They are not intended as the "end-all" of spiritual growth, but they do cause the church to think about how they live out faith in Jesus Christ. 

1.  Let's become intentionally Godward in our orientation. Not self-oriented, not success-oriented, not church-oriented, not seeker-oriented, but God-oriented.

2.  Let's stop using a marketing approach to church life. The church is not a vendor of religious goods and services but the Community of Faith, living in faith and through faith and by faith alone. We do not need to mimic the entertainment industry of our culture. We win people to Christ not by entertainment but by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

3.  We should become intentional about learning the "habits of the heart" for Biblical holiness. We need daily spiritual disciplines rather than sporadic bursts of inspiration or enthusiasm. 

4.  Let's quit using the strutting peacock CEO of contemporary culture as a model for Christian leadership. 

5.  Let's make certain that our Godward orientation is always for the sake of the world. The Church exists for the sake of the world, which at the very minimum means less stress on preserving our institutions and more stress on serving the poor. [I don't take it that Foster is here supplanting God's glory as the central uniting factor, just pointing out a very important aspect of church life. Jesus defined "true religion and undefiled" as "caring for the widows and the fatherless in their affliction." James 1:27] 

6.  Let's get rid of our "edifice complex." Buildings are not bad, but neither are they the sum total of everything important either. Let's use buildings to help and serve people and not as monuments to our own egos. 

7.  Let's engage in vigorous, culture-sensitive evangelism. All peoples need to hear the good news of Jesus and His love. 

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