I Quit Going to Church

Dear Church,

 

It’s more than a meeting!

 Our church board meets monthly and one (1) of the things we do when we’re together is “church business.” We review monthly reports from the pastors and our treasurer. We discuss issues in the life of the church. Right now, we’re working on our developing conversation with the architectural firm, Mantel Teter, and all it’s implications. But “church business” is only one (1) of the things we do.

 

 Our church board has been elected to give spiritual leadership to the congregation. “Spiritual leadership” does not in any way imply leadership in the “impractical” affairs of the church (I’m not even sure there are any “impractical affairs”). Rather, it speaks to the particular kind/quality of leadership that’s exercised – spiritual leadership – leadership that is grounded in and grows out of an authentic and growing relationship with Jesus.

 

 That’s why, another thing we do when we’re together is, seek to deepen our relationship with Jesus and grow in our understanding of Christ-centered, spiritual leadership. Currently, to aid in that process we’ve been working our way through Pastor Wayne Cordeiro’s book, The Divine Mentor. In some ways, Cordeiro’s book is Discipleship 101 but sometimes it’s really helpful to go back to the basics.

 

 The Divine Mentor is encouraging us to take seriously the challenge of sitting regularly under the tutelage of the spiritual mentors introduced in the Bible – people like Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Peter, Paul, etc. – and, of course, Jesus. It’s also introducing us to a method for structuring that time with the mentors (time in God’s word) with the acronym S.O.A.P. (Scripture. Observation. Application. Prayer.)

 

 I won’t take time to tease the SOAP structure out here and now (although it is a worthwhile conversation) but what I really want to say is, as we discussed Ch. 7 of our book in our last meeting, things got real. One of our board members in particular spoke with deep conviction and passion about how this book has given them new tools and helped them find a renewed love for sitting with Jesus and being mentored in the way of discipleship. And others joined in the conversation in such a way as to help me believe, “These people aren’t just ‘church-goers.’ They’re genuinely seeking to know Christ and have his life formed in them. Nor are they just board members. They are genuinely seeking to be spiritual leaders in the life of the church.”

 

 I suppose someone might read this and respond, “Duh. What else would church board members be/do?” Well, unfortunately, it’s not always this way. But I’m very thankful we are being led by a team of people that seem to be serious about living and leading into our vision of “together becoming, and inviting others to become, authentic followers of Christ.”

 

Encouraged,

 Joel