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Finding Church

Chapter 3: The Awakening Chapter 6: The Undeniable Longing For some people the longing for "something more" seems so out of reach, and everyone else seems so content that they simply try to make the best of what is and fall into a spiritual stagnation that leaves them unfulfilled. For others, they can't seem to abate the longing. Try as they might to ignore it, knowing the cost of following it is great, but it continues to grow and invite them down the road less traveled. What's the difference? Why do some people go on this journey and others content themselves with an unfulfilling status quo? Chapter 10: The Family Way With this chapter we begin the second part of the book, where we can train our eyes tor recognize the church that Jesus is building in the world and how it differs from the one humanity is building. The two can co-exist in the same environment, but the human versions are always preoccupied with corporate realities--doctrines, programs, budgets, policies, and order. Chapter 5 What our History Has Confirmed By taking a cursory look at church history isn't it obvious than whenever we replace the simplicity of loving one another with creating systems to manage people's behavior, the power of love ebbs away and we are left with institutions that reflect the priorities of our broken world rather than the glory of his new creation. It perhaps might convince us that our hope is not in systems, but the love of Jesus transforming lives. Chapter 9: Won Into Life Chapters 8, 9, and 10 undermine our presupposition that if we get the community right, it will produce disciples. That's the hope that underscored all my pastoral work. If we can just get the right program in place and people follow it we will experience the life of the church. But we can't. The life of the church doesn't rise from a different structure or program, but from a different kind of believer, one that is growing in their trust of the Father's affection and thus can live differently and love differently in the world. Chapter 7: A New Kind of Person While most people look for a new "church" structure to emerge that will guarantee a better community, it will not work. Structures are from the old creation and none have ever been created that selfish people cannot exploit for their own gain. If we're going to experience the life of the new community we have to think different people who live in his love, not different structures that will protect us. And rather than looking for that in others, the challenged is to let Jesus create that in us first. Chapter 12: Not Made With Hands I'm getting ready to leave for Israel, but let's start Chapter 12 and see what we can discover over the next couple of weeks. This is one of my favorite chapters. How do we learn to trust God's efforts more than our own. This is the key to being fruitful and fulfilled in his kingdom. It won't make us couch potatoes, because we'll be more active than ever, but not with our own futile efforts, but cooperating with the way he is making himself known to us and people around us. Chapter One - She's Alive and Well This category contains discussion topics about "Chapter One - She's Alive and Well" from the book "Finding Church". Chapter 13: Devotion Without Obligation Let's move on to chapter 13., learning to live by passion instead of obligation. So much of religion is crafted around fear and guilt, forcing people to do what they "should" do, rather than learning how Jesus passion begins to overrun their own and they actually have a desire to be about the things Jesus is about. Chapter 2: The Community of a New Creation Let's begin chapter 2. The first chapter was about opening our eyes to the idea that a better church is in the world than the one most people see. The second chapter challenges us to look to relationships that reflect his glory to help us see the reality of his church. Chapter 11: In First Place... Chapter 11 is the first of eight chapters designed to help us discover to the life of the church as she's taking shape around us. People who are leaning into God's reality find their conversation seasoned with Jesus and his purposes in the world. They are less preoccupied with church institutions, worship, eschatology (the end-times), prophecy, miracles or anything else. Their conversation often settles in on the reality of Jesus—who he is, how he's making himself known in their lives, the nature of his character and the meaning of his words. Chapter 14: Gatherings Without Meetings Let's move on to Chapter 14 and look at the difference between families gathering and most of the meetings we have in congregational settings. Chapter 16: Order Without Control If you have question for Wayne, or would like to suggest a topic for the group in discussing this chapter, please post it here. Chapter 17: Unity Without Conformity The greatest riches of the Church are unfolded where people live together in wholehearted unity. The reason why the church humanity builds can't find that place is because it uses conformity tactics for an illusion of unity, rather than inviting people into the transformation that really brings unity. Chapter 4: What Jesus Taught Us Whenever people talk about "the church" all they an think of is the building on the corner or the the Sunday morning meeting and the institution that surrounds it. This idea of "church" arises from planning, organization, budgets, and leadership. This chapter is designed to shatter our images of his church as an institution and begin to see it as the fruit of a kingdom where people are learning to live in the power of self-sacrificing love. Chapter 22: To Be Continued The final chapter of Finding Church is a synthesis of what I hoped people have garnered from this book and an encouragement to let it find expression however the Lord continues to lead them. The culmination of this book is not in the conclusions I would derive for others, but how this plays out in their own relationship to him, and how he brings the church together around the world into the glorious bride of his heart's desire. Chapter 18: Equipping Without Subduing For the last two centuries the view of leadership in Christianity is remarkable similar to the world's view with command and control at the heart of leadership. How does that work in a kingdom where leaders don't "lord over" and where we are all brothers and sisters before anything else? Chapter 21: The Difficult Questions In this chapter I put all the practical questions I've been asked over the years about people who do not attend a local fellowship or trying to develop a house church. These questions are the ones people face when they embrace a more relational view of the church and realize they won't have the same mechanisms they have become accustomed to. Instead they will have to depend on the Spirit and let him guide them in their life with him, their fellowship with others, and their service to the world. Chapter 20: Beyond the Congregation If you have given up trying to find the community your heart hungers for in an institutional environment, where else can you find it? For many of us fellowship was just a matter of attending services or house meetings every week, without that being pre-planned for us we have to take a more intentional approach to connecting with people in a way that opens the door for community. Chapter 15: Authority Without Hierarchy Nothing begs us to comprehend the difference between human effort and the way God works in the kingdom more than in our perception of authority. Humans establish authority by titles, and hierarchical flow charts. Jesus establishes authority on the power of someone's character and the truth of what they are saying. It is possible for people to have institutional authority and have little or no spiritual authority. Likewise, someone may have absolutely no authority in earthly terms but carry great weight spiritually. Separating these two will help you know who carries the kind of authority that truly matters to God. Chapter16: Questions Human management is a scheme of the old creation and as such it will always fail over time. While men and women of great character and compassion can do fairly well with it for a season, their tacts will trend away from a growing dependence on Jesus and a trust that love transforms people and gravitate toward policies and rules that will do more to harm than help. Chapter 19: The Traditional Congregation The new creation can express itself everywhere, including in our traditional congregations. This chapter gives us a chance to look at how we can recognize it taking shape there and help us discern where the group dynamics reflect the priorities of Jesus' kingdom and where the wittingly or unwittingly detract from it. Many people who want to know Jesus usually look first at those places we've called "church" for so long. Chapter 8: Won to Love As best I could when I wrote it, this chapter is designed to get people to think through their own journey of living in the Father's affection. We can't even begin to share it until we first experience it from him. Loved people love well. If we don't know we're loved then we end up treating people out of our own needs, insecurities, jealousies, and fears, which makes our relationships manipulative.
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