Next Four Questions for Sojos’ Church
Since last fall we have been talking about the need to reshape our church. We have not finished reshaping for a number of reasons. I am suggesting that there are four main issues that we want to care for. Though we may have ideas about each individual issue, the challenge is in dealing with all four issues together.
TEACHING / INVOLVEMENT / BELONGING / OPENENESS
TEACHING: Sojos’ will continue to be a place where the Bible is taught reliably. We will continue to do responsible exposition of passages of Scripture, in context, with competent facilitation. We want to learn about what is true so we can best know what to do as we live out our lives.
INVOLVEMENT: As Sojourners, a core value is that we each are on a journey that we need to actively pursue. To do this we need to be a group that mainly learns face to face. This means that our groups must be small enough and focused enough for everyone in a group to be able to open up and process with others. Too many people or too many different people, makes it difficult to do this.
BELONGING: As we have been involved with one another around reliable teaching, we have come to belong to one another in meaningful ways. As we adapt to fit the various needs of the growing church we want to make sure that everyone remains actually connected to one another in a way that helps us to experience that we continue to belong to one another.
OPENNESS: We are grateful for our church and we want to be open to sharing our blessings with others. We do not want to have to be hesitant about reaching out to people who are looking for a healthy church community. Whatever our changes, they need to be able to include others.
I have been thinking for months about how to balance all four issues. It is not helpful to isolate any one issue and offer a solution that does not deal with how that issue affects and is affected by the other issues. If we try to seal off our group, that partially solves three of the issues but leaves us almost cult-like by not involving others. If we randomly divide into smaller groups, how will we stay connected with everyone, and how can we have confidence of appropriate teaching? If we just grow into a bigger church, what happens to involvement? The challenge of wisdom is not in imagining an ideal in one area, wisdom is in seeing the best integration in spite of sacrifice in individual areas.
If any of our church members have any suggestions of a model of church that will incorporate all four issues, please let Kirk and Russell know right away, preferably in writing (e-mail or a comment on the blog). We are of course willing to talk with anyone (we have had this as an open discussion for more than six months) but now we need to get specific. Just observing that we wish we did not have to change is no longer helpful. We have to decide which sacrifices are best in light of all the real factors that stand before us. God has a way, we will prayerfully, with hope, proceed as best we can.