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Practical Leadership

Building an Emerging Church

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Building any successful church is not about seeking some fad or trend. It is all about seeking Him first, finding His Truth First, and then finding a way to communicate that effectively in life with passion-being creative without disrespecting Christ. Remember, He is Holy!

Building any successful church is not about seeking some fad or trend. It is all about seeking Him first, finding His Truth First, and then finding a way to communicate that effectively in life with passion-being creative without disrespecting Christ. Remember, He is Holy!

It all begins with our passion for Christ and then getting a heart for people, and a willingness to bring Christ to them. This is knowing and honoring the Great Commandment as well as the Great Commission (Matthew 22:34-40; 28:16-20; Mark 12:28-34; John 15). We are also to be holistic as a church-not the "new age" thing, but making sure all aspects of being a church are there-such as real worship, authentic fellowship, effective discipleship, ministry that connects people to Christ, and evangelism. We are not to focus on one thing and ignore the rest. Too many Emerging Churches just focus on one aspect, such as worship, and not the rest, the result being that they do not teach at all, or teach very poorly, or have a great laidback facilities but nothing to share, open doors but not open hearts, and so forth. We have to take responsibility for our faith and call and for the people at our door, to share the Lord. This also requires a good attitude about doing an emergent ministry from those in authority in the church-both official office holders as well as the behind the scene powerbrokers. We must all be on the same page of Church life and purpose. Being an Emerging Church and doing this right is simply honoring our Lord, His call, character, and precepts as we do it. When all is said and done, what matters and echoes into eternity is have we tried our best? Did we proclaim the Word in truth? Did we share the love and care that our Lord has given us? The situations, fads, customs, contexts, and cultures will always be changing; but God and His Word remain the same. It is He whom we are to know and share; let's do this well for His glory!

It is all about contextualizing; this means taking what we have done that is not working or is not reaching people and find out how we can make changes so it does work. We have the call to lead people to Christ and His precepts. We can't make them drink, but we can set the tone and example so they will know how to. This is so essential in an ever-changing world. This means we create a map from His Word to people's lives: Where are they? What are their interests? How can we as a church body be inviting to them? These are the questions that will help hone your ministry effectively. We do not rely on our conventional thinking about how we have done things before, especially if it has not worked well. Nor, can we just do what we like to do or see; we have to honor our Lord and reach out even where we fear and do not like to go at times. He is at our side; this is what faith is all about. This is what the Reformers faced and what we face too. The Church has become bureaucratically ineffective for many people; we can do it better, and Christ is here to empower us to do so.

Taste and see that the LORD is good… Glorify the LORD with me!

Questions to consider and pray about:

  • What fears do you have about new people? What are some obstacles for people in your church? How can you overcome them, see and hear His call, and have a heart for this ministry?
  • What is your image of Jesus? Is it lined up to Scripture? How can you communicate it more effectively to those who may fear your church?
  • How have you seen bad attitudes in your church today? What can be done about it?

· What can you do to set up a plan to practice real, authentic worship in order to draw nearer to God? Will you commit to this?How can this be more attracting to outsiders?

  • What is something new you can try without compromising His Message, that younger people may find attracting?
  • What can your church do better to honor its peoples and traditions that are good and still reach out to those who are disenchanted with the Church?
  • Remember your job as a church is to honor, reverence, and worship Christ, disciple the ones He brings you, and make Him known to those around you! How are you accomplishing this? How can you do this better?

When you see other churches do something that seem exciting, be discerning and in prayer. If it can be a good thing, give it a try a bit at a time. Do not try to do too much too soon. And remember: what works at one church may not at another. Seek Him in prayer; what does He want you to do? The best plans are simple, such as just be friendlier and welcoming in sincerity; do not be stingy with the Gospel of our Most Holy LORD:

Do not eat the food of a stingy man, do not crave his delicacies; for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost. "Eat and drink," he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the little you have eaten and will have wasted your compliments. (Prov. 23:6-8)

Do not be a stingy church; rather have your heart in Christ and things will go well for you!

© 2008, (gleaned from a 1992 article by R. Krejcir for the Fuller Institute "Ministry Advantage," and then revised) R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development

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