Friday, February 07, 2003

From this morning's reading in Drinking from the Hidden Fountain:

"The dignity of the human person is therefore beyond imagining. Look at the sky and the earth, the sun and the moon, and admire their grandeur. Yet the Lord condescended to rest, not in them, but only in the human heart.” [Pseudo-Macarius, Homilies, 15, 20ff; reading for February 7]

I have noticed two opposite, and sometimes competing, trends among us (Christians, that is). One trend is to be so materialistic that we neglect the emotional-intellectual-spiritual part of ourselves. Another trend is to focus so much on the emotional-intellectual-spiritual part that we neglect the beauty and glory of our physical part. When the Divine Logos condescended to take on a human form, when the Son of God became an actual human being, he made it clear that both parts—emotional-intellectual-spiritual and physical—are part of God’s glorious design. There must be balance. Too far in either direction and we become useless for God’s true work.
One of the pieces in the Biola Art Gallery installation is a cut out of a train like the one in the Four Spiritual Laws booklet, except the Engine is titled "Community," then "Experience," "Faith," and "Fact" follow in sequence (Fact being the caboose). Hmmmm...

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Still thinking about strategic planning and ministry. Amber Bishop asked a good question:

"How do we help people become disciples of Jesus and not just church goers who spout out the "party line" or get their little God fix and do whatever they want the rest of the week?"

This is indeed the question of the hour. If our product is “disciples,” how are we really doing at what Jesus left us here to do? Frankly, I’m surprised many of us have not been fired and sent home.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

I made a quick visit—a way too quick visit—to the Biola University Art Gallery today. They just opened up a new installation called, “The Recovery of Ritual: The Spiritual Quest of the Post-Boomer Generations” by Richard Flory, Donald Miller, and Daniel Callis. I have no idea how to describe it except that it is packed, provoking, really cool, and interactive—visitors can paint, videotape, or write their responses to the installation, and the artist will endeavor to incorporate those responses into the installation. I’m thinking this may take at least a couple of lunches to process.

On another note, one of the students on BUBBS (the Biola University Bulletin Board System) summed up the three-day Hendricks chapel series—THEOCENTRIC. It’s amazing how powerful it can be when someone tells the truth, without pulling anything back…

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

I just returned from Talbot chapel. Howard Hendricks spoke today. First off, the man has taught at Dallas Theological Seminary for something like 52 years. They asked the Talbot profs who had Dr. Hendricks as their professor to stand up. At least a third of the faculty stood--wow! His topic was the characteristics of transformative leadership. Here's the high points:

1. Leaders always have a strong sense of purpose.
2. Leaders are persistent.
3. Leaders always have self knowledge and mastery.
4. Leaders are perpetual learners.
5. Leaders have an ability to attract.
6. Leaders are ultimately followers.

Best quote (might be slightly paraphrased): "If you don't have any followers, you're not a leader, you're taking a walk."
More about strategic planning. A few thoughts have come to mind while reading the book.

As the church, who is our customer? One of the biggest mistakes of the past few decades has been the assumption that 'seekers' and 'attenders' were the customers. This is flawed thinking. According to scripture, we have only one customer--God. Everything we do is done for him. (He is also the owner-employer--a fact that must not be neglected in our strategic planning.

As the church, what is our product? Keeping in mind the Great Commission, it seems our product is disciples. The ministries and programs--all of them--are the tools and procedures used to produce the product.

It seems to me that these assumptions are necessary if a business model is to be applied to the church. When we focus on either seekers or attenders, we take our focus off our true customer, and tempt ourselves to compromise his requirements. When we work under the assumption that programs are our product, we take our focus off our true product, and tempt ourselves to treat people as tools.

People--disciples--worshipers--are the product. God--the almighty Creator--is the customer.

I can't even imagine how powerful strategic planning could be with these assumptions.

Monday, February 03, 2003

So, I was reading some favorite blogs today and I find that Jordon Cooper has taken his site down to re-evaluate. I'm bummed, but impressed.
So, I'm reading a book on strategic planning--for a Christian Ed class, see What I'm Reading--and I realize that the Young Adult Ministry has no plan. This may explain the random approach. Now if I can only hold off on the process until I kinda know what I'm doing. Gotta steer clear of graduate student syndrome.