« Go and read this: | Main | Church culture part II: Where are the Teeth and Claws? »



Good thoughts, bro!

But, it kept getting the feeling that your ideas were pointing toward church as something "we do" rather than something we "are". It seems to me, that when believers come together, there will always be a mixture of different cultures, and that the only uniting factor is the most basic common thread between us all... Jesus. Of course, His life is expressed in a slightly different way through each of us, and unless we're given room to allow that expression out, we will suffer as individuals. At least, that's how I see it.

So, when we structure the gathering around one person's idea of how it should look, we're prohibiting the individual expressions of those gathered. And, the way I see it, nothing builds our faith more than expressing it to others through our own individual words and actions. Not someone else's... only ours.

So, sing the songs "I" want you to sing. Listen to the teaching "I" want you to hear. Sit when "I" say sit, and stand when "I" say stand. And speak when "I" say you can speak. This isn't a coming together for mutual encouragement, this is attending someone's performance.

I say, just come together as believers, and let God do what He does best. He is capable, and even better, willing to lead us closer to himself.


your thoughts and Bruce's response raise a serious question that must be addressed in the discussion of the emergent church or in any church. What is the function of leadership? From Jesus' statement to Peter of "feed my sheep." to Paul's encouragements to Timothy of setting an example of Godliness and sound teaching, the New Testament is filled with men and women of God being called to teach and equip. The whole five-fold ministry is given for the equipping of the saints for every good work, and we're told that it was God who chose which gifts to give to whom.

I'm not proposing answers to the question. I'm simply stating, "What is the function of leadership in the life of the believer?"

Darren D.

Bruce ~ Good thots! i knew that a post on changing a church culture within an IC (institutional church) context would be a hard one. i probably should have been clearer on what i mean by church culture and the mindset gap. i think you may have missed my point. Let me clarify where i was going with this post.

In the IC, a church service is not just “one person's idea” but a commonly held set of ideas that are often unspoken. That is a churches culture. The mindset gap consists of the difference between our institutional form and the free flowing spirit of God working within relationships.

Your comments demonstrate the problem i was trying to get at. The church culture “prohibits our expression” as it defines the identity of our church. Hence the tension between the emerging and traditional camps. In my post i was looking at the “groupthink” of any body of believers. Those tacit set of ideas that shape how we are the church in an IC setting. BTW there is a groupthink in all families or friendship groupings.

Leadership (in an IC context) can and should examine and shape these unquestioned notions/values to be more inline with the Kingdom of God. To be a family and people again. Establishing a christian identity as a people. That is part of the leadership role in such a setting.

On a personal note: i am trying to help a pastor who feels God calling him to lead his congregation to BE the church as opposed to doing church. While i don’t think church is something “you do,” i have chosen to place myself in a context where many of the people do think that way. (if you look at the church culture) i’m like Neo reinserted into the Matrix. Therefore i write from both perspectives as i live in two worlds and am always dealing with that tension.

Thanks for helping me clarify things Bruce. i value your comments.

George ~ i agree, we need to think more about the function of leadership in a church setting. i was focusing on the structural element of leading change within an established church body and culture.


Aren't we all supposed to be Neo's? In the world, but not off it? A royal priesthood and a holy nation, walking in a new identity, serving the king in a realm we can only see glimpses of? Given the task of compeling and teaching and healing, and reconciling those who walk in the old world with the leader of the new?

We are called to walk in the identity and carry on the mission of emmanuel, the ultimate bridge-gapper between true reality and cultural group-think.


I am seriously considering leaving my church because I feel that its culture has changed. I am a 33 year old woman who became born again about 8 years ago. My experiences have always been one of non denomintional settings w/ contemporary music. We have a new minister of music who is more of a traditional mindset in the African-American church. I have a hard time receiving from people who are yelling at me, or jumping up and down uncontrollably, or anything of that nature. i feel that leadership has comprosmised our beliefs because of a need. We needed a musician. I want to grow in my walk with God. I have always thought of myself as being open to change and new things but this new situation has me wondering if I am as openminded as I thought I was and should I be more open to a traditional style of church. This is a complex topic. I feel that for the most part we all choose churchs based off our personal belief system. If I wanted to experience a more traditional setting I would have found a church that had that kind of culture. As the culture of my church changes I seriously feel as if this is Gods way of telling me it is time for you to go. Can you please give me some insight into this.

The comments to this entry are closed.

  • In the Celtic tradition "Thin Places" are places where the spiritual and the natural world intersect. It is a place where it is possible to touch and be touched by God. "Thin Spaces" are the moments when we experience a deep sense of God’s presence in our everyday world.

  • Typepad Powered