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January 24, 2009


Doug Paul

I really like this thought quite a bit. The question, it seems like all others, is finding the RIGHT amount of tension. It's about giving enough tension to create space for people to grapple with the reality, but not so much that they abandon it all together.

JR, I leave it to leaders like you to find the answers to those questions and report back. ;-)

Paul Barger

JR, I've been thinking a lot about this over the last couple of months. Some ideas may not be applicable to every church, but a couple of things come to mind.

1 - What if Churches stop podcasting to the public? So much of Church shopping or surfing comes from the ability to consume so many sermons over the course of the week, rather than meditating on the sermon that my pastor has shared with my community that Sunday. Or only make the podcast available in a members page. (Someone who does this is Tim Keller in NYC, you have to purchase a subscription to receive his sermons)

2 - What if Churches periodically stopped a majority of their Sunday childcare/youth services. Sometimes I wonder if we are just really providing childcare, and babysitters for parents, rather than helping our families learn to teach children and students to worship.

Now I'm not requesting a complete overhaul/shut down of these ministries. But they could be some ways to push back against consumerism and create a real tension with the larger church.

(Everything in Moderation)

Just some ideas...

J.R. Briggs

Paul and Doug -

You both make great points.
Moderation is the key. I've talked often with other leaders about the importance of "pushing without shoving." Moving people along, stirring the waters a bit, but not causing such incredible havoc in the system.

When you look at Acts the early church was extremely messy. And somehow in the mess that's when God worked most powerfully. It was some sort of attractive chaos and not a predictable entity. It caused a real sense of anticipation.

I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I think the goal of what Hugh was saying is that simply striving for perfect stability is the very that causes the Church's decline. Alan Hirsch talks about this in his book "The forgotten ways."

What is the balance between the two?
It seems like a Christian cliche just typing it, but its very true: I think this is when we leave God's Spirit guide us in our leadership, to give us wisdom to know when to push...but not push too much.


Hey man, wanted to let you know that I got this book in the mail last week on your recommendation. As soon as I finish David Wells or Blue Parakeet, I'll crack it open. Thanks for making the recommendation.

J.R. Briggs

Shad - I think you'll like the book. we just bought 11 copies for our board members and our house church shepherds. we're not trying to imitate everything in the book but we love the contagious philosophy to ministries and the stories that spring forth.
I think it'll be fruitful for you and your church plant.


Or change the point a little from Ezek 44 .. helping them distinguish between the holy/clean (my relationship with Him) and the common/unclean (everything else), there's going to be tension. And in Ezek 34, applying a little New Testament point of view, there is alot of guidance about how to do it right ... Take care of His flock or God will rescue them from their shepherds.
Regards, Doug

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