Faith With Works, works.
Genesis Church, where I Pastor a rowdy bunch of committed folk, has come up with 5 Core Values. The first is about ACTION
Ministry is way too important to leave to the paid staff !
So we are Actively Taking Part, Moving Beyond Self-Interest, and Serving Others.
Lay leadership is about moving from being passive consumers of a product to taking our discipleship seriously. It is too easy to remain content sitting on the sidelines and critiquing casually. Too often members get disappointed in the local brand and rather than help shape the product move on down the street for greener grass.
Genesis knows pastors “come and go” and that it is up to the members to create and support programs and ministry. When we speak about Outfitting Authentic Disciples we are thinking of folks who take ownership of their faith journey.
We expect a great deal from our pastor, including pastoral shepherding, prophetic preaching and constant invitation and encouragement in growing our own participation. We need more communication and comfort with conflict. We are trying to increase the spiritual and emotional investment of our worshipers as we grow in maturity. This is a hard shift. It is even hard to talk about! This major aspect of our redevelopment has cost us some members. And it has also already brought some new ones in.
Our Ego always pursues what is best for SELF. We know that following Jesus as Lord requires de-throning the SELF from determining all our preferences .
Our Ego is always asking “is this, for me, the right (usually meaning “comfortable”) congregation (or pastor/decision/tradition/building…?)” Willingness to be led by Christ means we step beyond what we are comfortable with.
This isn’t always easy. Okay, it is seldom easy. But we do think it’s more fun. During our New Beginnings process we came to realize a shift was going to have to take place if we were to re-claim a vibrant future for our community. We learned that sometimes churches produce Consumers of spiritual products rather than Disciples. So we are working on ministry with each other and owning our parts in leadership and decision making. We think it is a better way to do church.
WHAT YOU MIGHT NOTICE IN OUR ACTIVIST CHURCH:
In worship our lay leader does the announcements, leads the call to worship and unison prayer, reads the first scripture lesson, and even takes on the prayers of the people (the heart of our worship) often. We enjoy our music at Genesis and have numerous opportunities in song and sung responses to participate. During Pastor Don’s sermon there are often opportunities to share reflections or answer a question, reference an additional scripture passage or respond to a point.
We have learned to take part in preaching as a dialogue. Yes, Pastor Don has been through a lot of schooling. But there is A LOT of wisdom sitting in the chairs on any given Sunday too. During the prayers of the people we share joys and concerns with one another because we know that is how community is strengthened. It is risky sometimes. And sometimes you can really feel the spirit move at Genesis because lives are coming into authentic contact with one another in ways they don’t any place else.
In addition we have a time called “Offerings.” After the plates are passed we take part in a conversation across the aisle about what the sermon has covered, where we are as families and employees and disciples and students and divorcees and those who occupy every strata of life. To hear from one another changes our congregation. It takes some willingness on worshiper’s part! Worship at Genesis is never boring. Really. In large part because we are constantly a part of it.
At every level of decision making, in all sorts of mission work and service, and throughout our worship experience we are reminded that our own participation is key to joyous life in Christ.