The article below by Leadership Journal is a welcome note and yet another sign of life breaking through in North American Christian experience. There are worldviews expressed in the article which I can't encourage, but overall, it's good news. Here are just a few tasters from the article:
". . then Lueken took a class at Fuller Seminary taught by Dallas Willard. The experience led to a complete change of course for him and Oak Hills Church.
"[Willard] was teaching on the Sermon on the Mount and conveying the heart of the gospel through Jesus' teaching, and I felt I was sitting there listening to something I'd never heard before," Lueken recalls. "We realized that we had to rethink what the gospel was about. Does the Bible teach only the gospel of heaven and forgiveness of sins? Or is it about a new way of living that involves the power of God, the peace of God, along with your sins being forgiven and going to heaven when you die?"
- Pastors are focusing more on the Gospels than on the Epistles.
- More pastors believe the gospel is advanced by demonstration and not simply proclamation.
- More pastors say the goal of evangelism is to grow "the" church rather than to grow "my" church.
- More pastors believe partnering with other local churches is essential to accomplishing their mission."
"Whatever the particular cause for the shift in these pastors' ideas regarding the gospel and mission, five changes are gaining momentum in congregations all across the country:
- Affirming the whole gospel
- Not looking to a megachurch model
- Focusing on making disciples
- Encouraging a missional mindset as a means of spiritual formation
- Establishing partnerships to advance the gospel."
"Another shift is the growing emphasis on spiritual maturity, not just conversions. Pastors surveyed are pouring more energy into disciple-making even at the expense of programs previously considered sacred cows."
"My ministry used to be, 'Here are five things to know, four things to do, take your devotions and call me in the morning,'" he said. "It was head knowledge, with applications that didn't result in any heart change." "Compared to ten years ago, today's pastors say they increasingly see disciple-making and meaningfully engaging the world as not merely ancillary expressions of faith, but the means through which spiritual formation occurs."
Read the article in FULL . . .