very helpful,Chris! What would you say is the difference between prophetically essential and Spirit - led. Also the difference between culturally imperative and contextually vital?domthey not overlap?
All in all great thoughts though.
Agree with Alan on these thoughts Chris. Great concepts.
I am curious as to your thoughts on the "prophetically essential" as well. What forms do you envision this taking? How do you think the church can manage change on a consistent basis like that?
- I differentiate between what is "prophetically essential" & "Spirit-led" as follows: Leaders need to know what the Father desires- big picture as well as instant obedience. They need to continually process the prophetic words over their churches,recent ones as well as old ones. These 'words' are to be ever before us. They are essential in determining and defining direction, momentum and consistency. We also need to heed the prophetic musing of the Father from around the world. Like the sons of Issachar, we need to understand the times and know what the Father requires us to do - this is the big picture conversation.We can take our time to process these prophetic essentials and apply them into our lives as well as that if the community. Spirit-led on the other hand is more in the moment. What is the Holy Spirit nudging us to do now? It may not be sculpted, scripted or strategized. It simply requires spontaneous but immediate obedience when the Holy Spirit speaks, be it in a meeting or a moment, like Paul did when he received the Macedonian call in Acts 16:6 - 10.
- Let me meander a little more around the "prophetically essential" conversation. Prophets are, with apostles, responsible for laying foundations in churches [Eph 2:20] This does ensure that Christ is preached and glorified in our obedience. Furthermore, prophets unblock wells . When a church or believer gets stuck in the marshes of their daily ritual, the prophets can open them up to identify the causes of calcification and break down the gates of drudgery. Prophetically essential contributions can keep us sharp, moving forward yet keep us connected to the mandate that is on the upon the individual or community.
- "Culturally imperative" is the big story. What does it mean to lead a church in the big cultural story- USA and OC for example? What are the big cultural pieces - how do people think, see, speak - what are their values, idols and priorities? Like Paul did in Athens, we are to be students of our world and speak into that world. "Contextually vital" for me is the specific context into which one ministers - for example, at Southlands, you have those who have been at the church for many years, side by side with those who come from Biola and Hope Universities, as well as Catholics and Ex - Vineyard sojourners and so on. Knowing that is vital to how you lead, minister, preach, counsel - even what you explain and allow in the community. I met JR Vassar in New York. Great guy. It was fascinating getting him to explain his journey as he moved form being a mega-church teaching pastor in Dallas to a church planter in NYC. He has got this down. Both the big story of culture as well as being contextually sharp, is necessary to be apostolically strategic. Hope this helps.
- Change is one of the certainties of our God journey. The great Exodus narrative is a most strategic story to parallel the community in their obedience to the Father. However there needs to be incredible wisdom to do it well. It requires enormous sensitivity to the "unforced rhythms of grace" [to quote Eugene Petersen]. There needs to be the revelation of the Father's plan. Match this with the shepherd's heart of Jesus and the tender whispers of the Holy Spirit - that is for fathers in families, pastors in churches as well as those of you in the marketplace of ideas. Once the direction of change is clearly defined, [often reached in collaboration with the community], the pace of change must be wisely read. There will always be those who resist. However the Jesus model is not to bludgeon but to lead "tenderly beside still waters". The bleating of the sheep is not to determine the pace but, nor is the voice of the supporters - rarely is their description of the pace to be trusted. They tend to push us too hard. Together we can hear His voice. A major weakness for most is the communication of change. Using both face to face as well as corporate conversations, it must be clear, consistent and crisp [oh dear, I get too long winded!]