by Peyton Craighill
Many church people rate the success of a congregation by two measures: one, the size of the congregation on Sunday morning, and two, the size of the offering on the Sunday service.
These are “Come” measures of success.
But that’s not enough for the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Bishop Michael Curry measures the success of a congregation in terms of “Go” considerations: how many members of that congregation are living the Good News of Jesus Christ in everything they do, Monday through Sunday.
Radical Sending is about turning congregations from a “Come” congregations to a “Go” congregations. The emphasis on “Come” is important – but the emphasis “Go” is even more important! When new members are introduced to Christ and are not challenged and supported to serve in Christ’s mission in their daily lives, the mission of the congregation fails in its mission to serve Christ!
The best section of the book introduces the metaphor “base camp” for the congregation. Mountain climbers can’t succeed in their mission without base camp.
Similarly, for us Christians, we can’t succeed in our mission to serve Christ’s mission in our daily lives without a base camp. And that base camp for us is our congregation. We come to church on Sunday morning to be sent out empowered and redirected to serve Christ in his mission throughout the week ahead.
by Fletcher Lowe
I am at the stage in my life when I am attending more funerals than weddings!! As I hear the eulogies of the deceased from friends and family, I have been impressed with their accomplishments in their civic and business lives as well as in their family relationships. As I have listened, among the several thoughts going through my mind has been what role did the person’s faith community play in supporting, affirming, equipping him/her in that impressive journey.
It is a reminder to me that we in the church need to reinvent ourselves: less directed toward building up a congregation’s programs and more toward “equipping the saints for their ministries.” (Ephesians 4:12). How special it would be—as I have heard once in a recent funeral—to learn how the person found in her faith community a watering hole, a place where she was affirmed and supported in her significant gifts as a doctor. After all, what is a congregation for but to empower its members in their daily lives of family and community and work?
by Fletcher Lowe
With Christmas and the Epiphany just behind us, I have a question: What effect did the shepherds’ experience with the Christ child have on their shepherding and their home life? Ditto the wise men. What effect did their paying homage to the Christ child have on them when they returned home to their jobs and families?
We have no Biblical answers, but is that not the key question of the Christian’s life – a yours and mine: What difference does our worship make in our daily lives? What kind of Monday morning hangover do we have from our Sunday morning experience?
If the congregation is like a base camp — there to nurture and support and equip us for our hikes — then our time there should prepare us for our daily hikes in our work and home and communities. After all, the base camp exists for the hikers, the hikers don’t exist for the base camp.
As Philipp Melanchthon, a 16th century reformer friend of Martin Luther, once said, “It would be a shame to be known by where we gather and not where we scatter.”
So how is your Monday morning hangover?