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marko’s thots on: FORGE Canada “Three Key Issues Facing Local Canadian Churches”

April 6, 2009

According to them, “Forge Canada is a growing network of leaders and churches in Canada who are committed to training leaders and churches to transform their neighborhoods.” Not a bad bio. I first heard about it through a man named Alan Hirsch. So I subsequently checked out their webspace & signed up for their monthly newsletter. Me being a missional Canadian pastor thought it’d be great to hear what some respected guys in Canada are thinking/saying about the Church in Canada.

There were 3 articles in this month’s newsletter that I gleaned from & I will link one of them for you as well as outline & comment on it.

The article is titled “Three Key Issues Facing Local Canadian Churches – Donald Goertz“:

The 3 issues are:

1.  We need to deal with our past. Here’s what he’s talking about: Goertz says, “The local church usually lacks any significant awareness of its own story, let alone an understanding of the impact of the Church in its community over the years.” This is a problem. He also says, “There is a reason why people view us with hostility, indifference or irrelevance.“And I would say that if we are unaware or ignorant to the negative attitudes and feelings people get when our churches are spoken of, then we are not going to be able to bring the Gospel of Jesus to them. We, whether we like it or not, are dictated our current situation by our past, and must take that into consideration when dreaming of the future of the local church.

2.  The tension of the present. Goertz’s bottom line here is, “Our present community context must be one which celebrates those stories which root it, but is always open and welcoming of the new ways God is working.” Can we please get beyond the “worship wars” here? I am so tired of that! What I think Goertz is getting at (and I love it) is an understandable balance between being rooted in what God has done for the church in the past all the while being open to new and fresh ways for God to work in us currently and in the future. Too often what happens is we’ve had a life changing & God glorifying experience where the Holy Spirit has really done a number on our souls and brought us into a deeper walk with Jesus, which is awesome (and not to be discounted), but what we end up doing is taking that experience and we attempt to recreate it over and over again to the point where it becomes a ritual, a liturgy, an institutionalized icon that really in the first place was meant for a specific time to a specific people and place. If we can’t receive blessings from God other than in our institutionalized experiences, then we’ve stopped worshiping the true God. So be open, indeed. Goertz talks about allowing a new generation to enrich the community of Christ while still being rooted in the blessings from our past…balance is so risky sometimes…I like it.

3.  Imagination for the Future. Daniel Goertz in my mind is slipping a little here. His ideas were really cool up to this point. Now, I can appreciate art (I recently took my wife to a world-class ballet) and things like that , but he says “Here we will need to open ourselves up to scripture, but in particular, to the role of the artist. In the 21st century the artists will lead us.” That’s not biblical…he just said something other than sola scriptura…Jesus and the arts. I don’t want to defend the guy, and I think he’s a little bit off here. Canadians (and I’m one of them) are often very artsy fartsy & pride themselves on it. But what I think he’s getting at is the idea that a missional pastor is one who will be able to weave (like an artist) Christ’s church into the diverse communities that we find in North America. If that’s what he’s saying, great, but he probably could have used better words to say it. Its never Jesus and anything. If you’re going to add to Jesus, add more Jesus.

All for now…any comments of your own, let me know! Blessings.

Mark Myles

He must increase, I must decrease. John 3:30

He must increase, I must decrease. John 3:30

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