I’ve just got back from a church planting conference in Hungary with ReachGlobal, the mission arm of the Evangelical Free Church of America. I did a presentation on household church (I’ll put my outline in a future post) and then did an evening of Q&A with those who were interested. Steve and I presented over two days at a ReachGlobal event three years ago and it was encouraging to have many people come up to me to say that their ministry had been transformed by that time.
The title of this post comes from an interesting observation made to me on the last day. One of the missionaries commented that during the evening Q&A people had kept asking me ‘DO’ questions and I had kept giving ‘BE’ answers. In other words, they would ask how to ‘DO’ something and I would reply in terms of what we need to ‘BE’. For example, they might ask how do you ‘DO’ evangelism and I reply along the lines of needing to ‘BE’ a community centred on the mission that involves people in its shared life. Or they might ask how we ‘DO children and I would talk about the importance of ‘BEing’ a community in which they feel like they belong.
This observation helped my understand why a lot of my interactions with people go the way they do. It explains why Steve and I thought we were being very practical in Total Church, but some people say they wish it had been more practical. They are after formulae, steps, processes, actions. They want to know what to ‘DO’. But that’s not what you find in the New Testament. It’s not a question of ‘DOing’ the right things. It’s a question of ‘BEing’ the right things – it’s a question of identity. So the role of a leader is to set a culture not create a programme.
In my next post I want to make a related observation. Not only do we need to be (there’s that word again) a ‘BE’ church; we also need to be a ‘BESPOKE’ church.