Being the nerd that I am, I am gloriously excited to hear from some seasoned Pastors and Theologians for the next few weeks at my church. What a blessing!
I was struck by Dr. Osborne interview – here are a few thoughts :
1. “I really never had to fight the demons of insecurity that can cause us to run from problems and pursue bigger ministry goals as a means of self-validation.”
I was intrigued by his perspective on how some need to “grow their church” to be validated. I for one have always felt uneasy with this being the main focus of any push at the church. Yes, I love evangelism. Yes, I think to grow as a church can reflect that the church is healthy. The focus I believe, should be one stewarding and discipling the congregation you have to follow Christ and foster their own faith deeply so that they desire to share their faith with those who do not know. God decides who comes to your church (who is “harvested”). It’s not about manufacturing how your church is to just bring people in the door. It’s like saying if you get more people to crowd around an ice-cream truck, that means the people must worship, follow and devote their lives to ice-cream. It might just simply mean that they felt like a cone today. And then they will move on. Or when it gets cold, they will stop craving cold things. Being inside a building means little. Following a set of rules means little. Being completely transformed by God’s jealous and overwhelming love for you, that all you can do is repent and worship is everything. That naturally makes disciples. Cause one thing people love doing is sharing with someone else what has deeply and genuinely transformed them!
It was just interesting to me for Osborne to call out some leaders who might be wanting numbers to fill the emptiness inside them with the success of their Church. Honestly not thinking of anyone in particular here, just gutsy.
2. “But I do have concerns that I’ve written about in my book, Accidental Pharisees. If we’re not careful, our zeal can lead to pride, exclusivity, legalism, a critical spirit, and lots of unbiblical gift-projection. I see this as the greatest obstacle facing the young and zealous church today. It’s a much greater danger than the loss of any so-called “culture wars.” The darker our society gets, the more a tiny light makes a difference. But if we lose our agape love for one another in hyper-zeal and division, the light will go out.”
Did you hear that last sentence! Dude!!! I am chewing on this. In our Christian culture today, the term “truth in love” has been thrown around a lot to mean a lot of things. In scripture, it seems like certain things take precedence over others. Or in other cases, one thing does not work without the another. Like Faith is validated by your works, Truth is no truth absent of love. It stops being true. The essence of it is lost. Like gifts without Love is compared to a noisy gong (1 Cor 13). The gifts are still truly there – but loose their meaning and function without love. The function of gifts is to build up and edify the body of Christ. How can you do that when people are seeking self glorification and recognition in their gifts over their primary purpose to sacrificially serve others and sanctify the Body?
If Truth … (and when I say truth I mean the whole gospel which includes the deep love of God shown through Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins)… comes without obeying the command to encourage and sacrificially love your brother/sister, especially if he is weaker, knowing the greatest love is to die for one another – if THAT Love is not a part of the truth – I feel it is being served incomplete. I have a feeling this subject will become it’s own post :)
Full Interview with Dr. Osborne here: Interview with Larry Osborne