I’ve heard of this book before and very thankful to the person who lended it to me. It addresses one thing many pastors fear, the failure of the church. More specifically, their own church.
Of the 12 pathological patterns found in Thom Rainer’s book of 14 deceased Churches, one really hit me where I feel is most crucial for our church where I lead. How do we continue to deny “Me, Myself, and I” in the strategies that we seek to accomplish our values, goals, and mission?
Fortunately, Christ makes it plain to us in the Gospels and Paul reiterated in his letter to the Philippian Church, “make your own attitudes of that like Christ Jesus”.
These words offer a clear distinction that we can on a individual level or a communal (church wide) level put one of two focuses in the efforts, budgets, strategies, and offerings of the Church. It is either SELF focused or OTHER focused.
None of this is new and I know that I’m not writing earth shattering news here, but I wanted to bring that conversation into the light at the local space where our church lives. It requires bravery, patience, and confidence that if we need to redirect one or many efforts away from us and onto others, then we will find that we will become more like the people we are reading about in the New Testament and less like those who clearly misrepresent Jesus in our post-modern setting and who recall the church in its pre-mordum state.
If we empty self in the name of Christ, we must remember what we receive in exchange is a presence, character, and purpose that is more alive than we ever could obtain on our own self efforts. Let’s foster that kind of place where we find ourselves and commit it to be what brings vibrance, flexibility, and most importantly, transformation.
What preventative measures should we take?
What ways can you grow into that exchange of other-focused and less Self-focused?
What do you stand to lose? What could you gain?