24 Nov '13
Challenging the status quo
Posted by T.J. Addington
It is easy to be a part of the pack going in the same direction, content with the status quo and believing in conventional wisdom. It is far harder to question the status quo and to believe that conventional wisdom is definitely conventional but rarely wisdom.
I am drawn to those who challenge the status quo rather than join it, who question conventional wisdom rather than blindly buy into it and who are willing to risk new ways in order to better fulfill God's purposes. If I am going to follow anyone, it will usually be those that don't follow the crowd.
Conventional wisdom says that if you can convince people to live a certain way, with certain habits that they will become like Jesus. Yet the church has miserably failed with performance based Christianity and has not seen significant spiritual transformation take place among its people. Now, wise leaders are asking the question, how do we get to transformation of the heart rather than settle for conformity of the life.
Conventional wisdom says you need to dumb down the gospel if you are going to grow a church. Gospel light sells. Yet, some of the fastest growing churches are full of people who actually want to know what God says in his Word and they preach it boldly. Which produces the more mature believers?
Conventional wisdom says that missionaries should not give those they minister too too much responsibility too soon. They might mess something up. Yet, some missionaries follow the example of Paul and develop, empower and release new believers into ministry quickly. Which produces more fruit?
Conventional wisdom says that a church must program for everything and everyone and in a multitude of options, it will flourish. Yet many very large churches keep it very simple so they do the key things that help people grow and then give people time to be involve in ministry outside of the church. These often have far more influence for Christ than those who program aggressively.
Conventional wisdom says that we ought to do all that we can do to create and fill ministry slots in the church so that everyone is using their gifts. Of course we often totally ignore wiring and gifting when filling those slots - and we please the evil one by tying up our congregations inside the four walls of our church where they will be relatively ineffective at reaching the community.
Yet, those rare churches that focus on helping people do ministry in line with their gifting and wiring and to use them where God has actually put them six days a week see amazing things happen. In resisting the temptation to make ministry about the church they release people into ministry exactly where God wanted them to be to the chagrin of the evil one.
Conventional wisdom says that to be successful a church must be edgy in its worship. Yet, congregations that give options find that all kinds of people participate because they find a worship style that works well for them.
Remember conventional wisdom is always conventional. It is often not wisdom. Rather than simply following the crowd in ministry, ask yourself if there is another way that might produce even better results? Ask what the underlying assumptions are of the conventional way. Ask what the alternatives might be. Ministry pace setters do not live by conventional wisdom. They know it is often not wisdom at all.