Monday, June 25, 2012

The Tower of Babel / Pentecost / Destiny Church - 3

PART 3 = Destiny Church:

If you haven’t read part 1 and part 2, I’d recommend backing up and reading these first.

Humans we’re always meant to invent, design, develop, build, and create. They were always meant to continue the ordering and shaping work of God in creation. Yet at Babel this was twisted towards prideful self accolade rather than the expanding of God’s rule and reign. It’s easy for this to happen in our own lives today. Any number of noble actions and endeavours can so easily become self serving and more about building an “empire" of reputation, achievement, kudos, prestige and one-upmanship than loving God with all your heart and your neighbour as yourself.  This sense of one-upmanship doesn’t have to mean that one is trying to be world famous in New Zealand, it can be as simple as standing a little higher above everyone else in your circle – whatever that circle is (and we’ve all numbers of them).

This is one of the great challenges that Pastors and church leaders everywhere need to be aware of. Leading in, ministering in, and with the Holy Spirit, building a local church is a noble and admirable enterprise and yet even in this the motive can so easily become one of self fulfilment rather than service. The local church is intended to represent Jesus, in the world, as a community that lives out the story of scripture as a hermeneutic of the Gospel and committed to one another in love. In Acts 2 we’re given a challenging example of the sorts of things this might entail post Pentecost with the first Christians selling and giving in order that nobody would lack any need. It’s not hard though, as a pastor or leader, to come to think of the church as a representation of you and your leadership skills and preaching abilities. When this happens, focus can shift from the church representing as a counter culture community, to the church representing as an “empire” or as a “tower.” Focus shifts to the size of the church, the number of programs and ministries it runs, its building and facility, its conferences, events and regular guest speakers (hopefully famous). We slip from Pentecost back to the Tower of Babel – rather than the main focus resting on the nature of the church as a community of love, with buildings, conferences and ministries coming second; the focus becomes buildings, conferences and ministries, with the intended nature of the church forgotten.

The question when it comes to Destiny Church and Brian Tamaki’s City of God, and the question all pastors and leaders need to consider in regard to their own church and ministry is about reflection. Is the church and ministry first and foremost about a Pentecost community reflecting God in the world as a community that gathers and scatters as a living testimony of the gospel message? Or, have things become more Tower of Babel like with the church attempting to reflect as an “empire” or a “tower”?

Some would say emphatically that Destiny Church and the City of God concept is all about Pentecost community. Others would say without doubt that things have become way to much about the “empire” of Brian Tamaki. I don’t know enough to call it either way and ultimately it’s not for me to do that. Besides my call makes no difference either way. I will go has far to say that I think there is too much gathering and not enough scattering going on. With Destiny calling its churches and members to sell up and move to Auckland I think a big part of what it means to be the church is missed. As much as the church is called to gather she is called to scatter as light and salt in the world; shining brightly and flavouring subversively. Destiny and I think all churches, need to consider how much focus is on gathering, accumulating, building, holding onto,  and enlarging (all noble things), verses scattering, releasing, sending, simplifying, going, being and doing.

As well as a gathered church on Sunday, the church is to be a scattered church Monday to Saturday in the highways and byways, nooks and crannies, water coolers and third places of life.   

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