Ever have an idea in your head and come to realize your picture isn’t other people’s picture?
Well, for years I have been sitting with a new paradigm of the church – an arrow coming down and going out (much like an arm). When you sit with an idea for years, you know the pitfalls, and you work out the kinks…but other people can’t see the picture in your head.
One of the problems with the arrow model is very simple – we use models to tell us what we are supposed to do. In the upside down pyramid, we told ourselves our job was to support the people in our congregations, while giving them purpose and focus. In the arrow, things are not as focused, so this paradigm needs some conversation.
How does a leader operate in the arrow model? How does a leader help people become who God created them to be, become missional, and increase in devotion when the model doesn’t say “follow me!”?
First, there is the role of pointing people to God. Worship pastors seem particularly gifted in helping us move our worship from Sunday morning to every day. They teach us how to apply song and scripture to steer our brains from the normal, destructive patterns to letting God in our process and focusing on His perspective. A good worship pastor doesn’t just teach new songs – they teach relationship with God – worship is applied theology.
Next, we need authentic pastors. I just read in an article yesterday that most sermons give illustrations for the life of the body, or society in general – I wanted to add ‘how to drive on the freeway’. I went through a time period where every time a pastor wanted to be authentic, he (it was always men at that point) would confess bad road behavior. I really wondered if these men never got mad at their kids, never had a fight with their wife, never thought of throwing something at their annoying neighbor (okay, maybe not so violent, but there are days…). Helping people apply holiness in a world that is fallen can’t be simplistic or general – it needs to deal with our real failings as people – not blab it out time, but we can be authentic without vomiting reality.
Okay – enough for one morning. I want to continue thinking through the implications of a changed model – what does it mean for our ever-smaller circles model? What does it mean for discipleship? What does it mean for outreach?
I don’t approach this lightly. Our society, and the expectations of people in general has changed. The model we have worked with was a modern model. It was orderly, structured, and reminds you a bit of good accounting. The people I know find that approach to be coercive and manipulative. How can we lead in a world that distrusts leaders? This is why I am exploring this different model – I hope you will join the conversation.