Among the treasures expressed in this book is: The deeper root of consumerism in the church context is sensuality. When that root has been cut in the individual life, then genuine ambition for God, and pride in the cross, can flourish. Success is redefined by the spread of Kingdom presence throughout the community. The co-pastors of Oak Hills Church came to know this through their own personal growth together—often in the travail and tumult of congregational processes and the pain of radical authenticity between them. First, you must intend to do that, and must lead your people into that intention.
Disciples are self-starters in kingdom living, on the road with Jesus day in and day out. The gospel of life now in the present kingdom of the heavens Matthew 4: It has been done, repeatedly in Christian history, and can be done now.
A highly influential author and teacher, Willard was as celebrated for his enduring writings on spiritual formation as he was for his scholarship. Willard served on the boards of the C. Lewis Foundation and Biola University, and was a member of numerous evaluation committees for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. As Kent and Mike found out, a decade of major InterVarsity Press Bolero Ozon. Renovation of the Church: After eight years at our church it was becoming clear that our visi I read Renovation Of The Church against the backdrop of resigning as pastor of my church.
We faced the heartbreak of a congregation that would rather cease to be than come to new life. I struggled with my fruitfulness at this church. If Jesus said that Father is glorified in my bearing much fruit John Renovation challenged me again in my struggle, was my expectation of what fruit looked like too tied to measures and metrics? Was it pride that made me want to leave when I felt rejected?
In the midst of the pain inflicted by the backlash to what turned out to be our final push to vibrancy, I held dark thoughts about the dear saints in our pews. They reminded me of my opportunity to bless those who curse you. The flesh sarx that Jesus tells us we must eat to be his is the messy troublesome flesh of his body, the church. Last night I went to the Christmas Vigil service at an Episcopal church a few blocks from our new home. I sat behind a couple of young ladies who were clearly there because one of them belonged to the family filling that pew.
Their sidelong glances betrayed their mild disdain for what was happening in the service. In the midst of those who might have been there only to satisfy relatives or admire music and the memorial poinsettias, we did together hear and respond to the Gospel! I am still mourning the loss as well as enjoying the freedom. I greatly appreciated Kent and Mike in their honesty and transparency. In their story I know I am not alone in my pain or my joys. It is a great joy for those of us dreaming of Spiritual formation in the church. That makes them feel like old friends to me.
May 24, Scott Jeffries rated it liked it. Some of my favorite non-fiction, non-Christian books are "looks under the hood" of movements, organizations, and individuals. Books such as Moneyball by Michael Lewis and The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell take an objective look at situations and people who have changed the landscape of their particular field or context. Their formula is fairly simple - "With odds against them, how did Company X become a trend setter and revolutionize their industry. Besides Philip Yancey, I can't think of any Christian authors who approach their subjects in somewhat of a journalistic way.
Instead, we have works that are originating largely from one point of view. Usually, I never really notice this aspect but in the case of Renovation of the Church, I began to scream for a different perspective. The authors, Kent Carlson and Ken Lueken, are the co-pastors of the church, Oak Hills, that is the subject of the book. They explain and present their transition from a church that is built on a consumer model of church organization to a church designed on a spiritual formation model. As far as I know, me being from one of the hotbeds of evangelical church environments, their approach is extremely novel and even "out there.
But as a reader who is a thousand miles away from their church, I needed more from their story than observations from the driver seat.
I wanted to hear the other side of the story. What was it like for a church member to experience such a drastic change? What conversations were church members having among themselves? What were the success stories? How has a focus on spiritual formation changed individual lives? Lueken gave a few examples but they were often sparse.
This is where an outside perspective could have really made this story riveting. Instead, we get a hodge-podge of commentary on the state of American churches mixed in with the authors' personal philosophy on church leadership. In the end, we find out more about the authors' transformation as pastors than we do the church's transformation. This certainly serves a purpose and I am in high agreement with Carlson and Lueken's criticism of the American church and its pastors but their was more to be told there. Peterson told stories on himself as well as members of the church he pastored.
His stories could speak to the transformation that can occur in church and to churches under the reality of the Gospel. Carlson and Lueken never reached this level of reflection and expression. May 15, Jon Stephens rated it it was amazing. I recently finished reading Renovation of the Church: In fact they hold Willow Creek and Bill Hybels in high regard.
Instead the focus of the book is about how they have come to depend less on attractional models of ministry and are now pursuing the unique direction and vision God is specifically leading them in, focusing on spiritual formation not unlike the focus at Willow Creek with their Reveal study.
The chapters of the book focus on subjects like: Here are a few quotes that stood out to me: We take up our cross and follow him. It is daily death. We engage in the challenging work of putting on the new self. We decrease so he can increase. We live in the name of Jesus. This is not a calling for the elite few.
The final quote that caught my attention was one from Henri Nouwen: This is a great book that wrestles with vital questions for the Church gathered and for the individual follower of Jesus. I think this is a must read for those in vocational ministry, pastors, directors, support staff, and church boards. Mar 18, Shaun Lee rated it it was amazing. Dallas Willard in the forward makes the observation that "we [in the dominant form of church life today] have trained Christians to be demanding consumers, not disciples From the get go, I appreciated the humility of the a Dallas Willard in the forward makes the observation that "we [in the dominant form of church life today] have trained Christians to be demanding consumers, not disciples From the get go, I appreciated the humility of the authors in admitting that they did not have their act all together and did not fall into the trap of over promising success by following an x-number point plan.
With Ecclesiology being my second most favourite topic in theology first being biblical theology , it was surreal to agree emphatically with the authors page after page after page even though the church context I have been observing and reflecting about in far away Singapore. I too long for the day that my church would seek to grow spiritually formed Christians, rather than consumers addicted to week after week of worshiptainment.
That powerful encounters at the altar would translate into lives forever changed by the Gospel, so much that believers cannot live in their old sinful ways. Their authenticity kept me constantly engaged, because their ten year or so struggle to transit from Willow's seeker friend model to one whereby the unchurched are faced with the invitation to repent rather than receive countless blessings upon blessings. If you enjoy books by established church consultants like Gary McIntosh or Aubrey Malphurs, this book complements them so very well!
The authors do not just know ecclesiological theories or doctrinal philosophies, as co-pastors they have sought to put many of these into real life application.
Progress To A Transformed Christian Life
On the topic of co-pastoring, this is the first time I have heard of such a notion, but it seems to be a really great idea having considered their reflection of the pros and cons of it. I heartily recommend this book, especially if you are a pastor frustrated with your congregation's disinterest in missions, evangelism, social justice, christian education etc. I received this book from InterVarsity Press for the purposes of providing an unbiased review.
All views are my own.
Oct 01, Luke rated it really liked it. This is a very interesting book. A complete indictment of much of mainstream, contemporary Christianity and call to greater discipleship. I like the theology of vocation and they certainly support that. At times I felt they had a reverse theology of the cross - "we are growing smaller so we must be more faithful than those large, worldly churches.
The smaller we are, the more faithful we are. Maybe we are so far out of date that we are becoming the new fad. May it be so! I agree with much of what they said, but thought they made changes that were needlessly drastic and shocking. Jesus is calling us, as his disciples, as his apprentices in the art of living righteously, to establish beacheads for his kingdom, wherever God has planted us.
And so the kingdom of God breaks out not so much when we gather together in the church on the weekends, although that certainly happens, but when a mother cares for her children, a carpenter frames a house, a businesswoman leads a strategic planning meeting, a mechanic tunes an engine, a student sits in class, a couple develops a relationship with their nonchurches neighbors. To be faithful to the Great Commission, church leaders must push back at a religious culture that measures success by how large our church is, by how many programs we have, by how popular we are.
When a church remembers that it exists to supply followers of Christ with realistic, reliable and practical means to live in the reality of the kingdom of God and establish new beachheads, then it is doing what it is called to do.
Apr 01, Lindsay Hall rated it really liked it. Carlson and Lueken are courageous pastors to be so transparent about their decade-long journey of finding the balance between pastoring beleivers and reaching the lost. Every question they wrestled with was grounds for deep reflection within my own heart, and as I would often find myself discouraged by the instricacies of this balance, I would again be encouraged by their journey. They don't claim to have all the answers. In fact, they are very humble in their claim to any sort of knowledge.
The Carlson and Lueken are courageous pastors to be so transparent about their decade-long journey of finding the balance between pastoring beleivers and reaching the lost.
- The Trasaron Chronicles - Fade to Black.
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The book is simply their story of what has happened and what challenges they continue to face. As an elder in my own church, I'm so glad to be asking questions I didn't before think to ask. This book is an easy read. For a topic as profound as how to run a church, it reads like a light memoir.
I enjoyed it immensely and found myself talking about it to many people after I finished it. The only reason I didn't rate it 5 stars was that they make many generalized jabs at the church. Their plight is obviously tough: And with their specific gripes, they actually did a pretty classy job. But the other side of the coin when it comes to critical writing is the attacking the mass syndrome.
People become a little more bold and brazen when they can direct their complaints at a mass instead of to an individual. In parts, it felt like they were poking at the mass of the church in a way that was not productive. All in all, however, I appreciate this book and how it has challenged me. I greatly encourage others especially leaders in the church to read it and engage in the conversation with their own churches.
Feb 20, Reid rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is the story by two pastors of a Sacramento CA church that decided to intentionally move in this direction. Moving from 'consumerism' approach to programing they now emphasize thoughtful programing that helps disciples become more 'apprenticed to Jesus'. Attendance dwindled from to but the core is larger and more focused on the advancement of the kingdom of God where the disciples are.
No more feeding the monster of bigger, better church programs to get more people into the building but more intention of feeding and growing the people of the kingdom to 'go and make disciples'. Gone is the Willow Creek model, although are reasonable in critiquing that as well. I really liked this story of this church. I especially liked the musings on the worship service and the focus on the Content of the service.
They break it down into four parts: Music style flowing from thoughtful focus with the above in mind, then takes side stage not center stage in a sense. Sincerity and devotion is not the center, but the Story of God and the content is the focus. Large doses of 'denial to self' vs 'consumerism' is appropriate in working through how to participate and receive the church service. This is not another blueprint or 'how-to' so much as it is a Biblical, authentic discussion. High fives, all the way around. The message and the thoughtful struggle evident in this book speaks coherently to the voices in my head as I attend my own church's service each week.
Jun 02, Amy rated it it was ok.