Thursday, October 13, 2011

Blog Post: What is a "Member-Driven" Church?

I ought to define the phrase I use so often. It's the name of the model my church uses ( and it's what my book Awake From Atrophy is about. What does it mean?

First, it's NOT:
a new denomination
a new theological approach
a house church movement (you can be member-driven with few OR many)

We're probably very similar to you in our doctrines. And if we differ on an issue, it's probably has nothing to with us being member-driven.

It's a new (based on ancient) leadership structure and liturgy.

Our Core Values (foundational truths that shape us):

Biblical Foundation--what it sounds like
Relationship with Jesus--it's not just knowledge about God
Authentic Community--the platform for all the other purposes
Growth Through Practice--information by itself isn't enough
Every Member Ministers--not just an abstract identity, but a weekly behavior
More Than Stage Ministry--giving honor and time on Sun to more than group presentation ministry methods

Our Defining Practices (our best guess for practicing our values):

Eating Meals Together--our primary community building time
Bible Study--every other week small group discussions (not sermons)
Open Ministry--every other week each member comes prepared to minister to others based on their spiritual gifts (music usually fits in here)
Ministry Beyond Our Members--each member finds a way to make a difference in the world based on their gifts & resources
Member-Driven Funding--members don't mindlessly give 10% to a general church fund, but ask God how much to give to whom (leaders make members aware of needs rather than decide for them)
Simple Schedule--only one official gathering each week leaving time for our members to be in community as well as be salt and light to the world

For multiple years I studied the New Testament and church history, asking, "If I could remove all my cultural assumptions, what would the Bible say church is supposed to look like?" I discovered a lot of what I call "extra-biblical" ideas shaping our church practices. When you remove our cultural additions over the centuries (who says sermons are the required/best teaching format?) the above list of values and practices is what I found in the Bible.

After doing church like this since 2006, I can tell you that not only does it work, but it's the most spiritually stimulating and refreshing way to do church I know. It's not duty because it's biblical. It's wonderful!

No comments:

Post a Comment