Monday, December 05, 2005

The Journey Towards Relevance

Kary Oberbrunner

Conformists often ‘get killed’ out in the world because they have no community of faith. Many conformists are independent wounded sheep who have been bitten by other sheep. The last thing they want to do is hang around with more sheep. Organised church scares them, and so they wander out on their own to face the big world.

I understand this tendency. I just don’t agree with it. If the only church available is a church filled with legalistic separatists, then by all means separate from the separatists! Nonetheless, every believer needs to be involved in a community of faith. These communities probably look a lot different than the traditional church many of us grew up attending. They don’t need to meet in a building or have an order of service.

The trend among many young adults is to just be floaters. They’re not sure why they attend a church, but they think it’s something they should do. So, for a time, they casually try out churches. They may even commit to attending a church. But, every church has its warts, and soon they become disillusioned and quit assembling.

At one point in my life, I became disillusioned with the Church. I saw its gossip, legalism, and petty rule-based religiosity. I attended out of duty for several months. Then I decided to become part of the solution rather than part of the problem. I decided to stop looking at my needs and how the Church was not meeting them. I saw a vast number of wounded believers who were just as tired and fed up as me. I decided I would try to serve them.

I quickly found there were needs all around. Sure, the Church has warts. After all, it’s filled with people like you and me. Regardless, there is no perfect church. I think God must have a sense of humour. He knew I had given on the Church so much, and ironically, He decided to have me work in one.

I’m not sure which church God wants you to be a part of. In fact, you may need to start your own. Why not? If the churches around you are so archaic and filled with separatism, then assemble your own gathering of believers. You might see how difficult it is to have a community of faith who are transformists.

From chapter 5 of The Journey Towards Relevance – simple steps for transforming your world, published by RelevantBooks, 2004
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