Tuesday, 14 March 2006

On the Acts 29 Network for Lent

On my last trip to Regina I listened to some talks from the Acts 29 Network on my iPod. Acts 29 is an organization which supports church planters.

Much of what these assertive and energetic young men had to say applies to us because even though we were planted over a hundred years ago, we were planted to bear fruit.

Here is some of what they had to say.

Christology Of primary importance at the core of any church is its Christology—its theology about who Jesus is. We’d better have the right Jesus. For example, does our picture of Jesus include the whole, or is it just a snapshot including the things we find acceptable or comfortable about him? Is our Christology limited to a marginalized, humble Galilean hippy-like character with Anglican overtones? Does it include the sovereign, non-nogotiable, authority of the Exalted Christ? Is Jesus just an endearing character in a warm-hearted story, politely trapped within our arches, pews and stained glass, or is he the King Jesus of Revelation, judge and changer of lives? Is our Jesus big enough? Can we go to people grounded in the humility of the Incarnate Christ, and with the full authority of the Exalted Christ.

Jesus is the point. Jesus is the beginning, the middle and the end. We must use his name because if we just use the word “God,” people will import into it whatever false gods they have. When we say “God” nothing much happens, but when we say “Jesus,” divine energy breaks out around us. People are attracted or repelled and lives are changed. We must be dogged about Jesus.

The Cross The centrepiece of Christology is the cross upon which Jesus died in our place as a substitute for our sins. How do we deal with and stay away from sin? We get with Jesus.

Repentance Repentance is of critical importance. For us it is not enough to just live as Jesus lived. We have to do more because Jesus never had to repent and we do—constantly.

The Acts 29 Network people say we lack the courage to share our faith because our Jesus isn’t big enough and we lose our way as churches because we don’t repent enough.

The Bible The written word exists to reveal the Incarnate Word, Jesus. Unless everything we do, therefore; ACW, music ministries, prayer ministries, children’s and youth work, readers, cleaners, Altar Guild; everything; connects with Jesus Christ, we’re not being Biblical.

Community Creating and maintaining community is not our mission. Community (getting people connected with us) is not the goal, mission (getting people connected with Jesus) is. Our community is the crucible from which our mission must come. The goal is not more people in our community, it is more people in Christ.

For Acts 29 Lenten Reflection

  • How might you allow Jesus to be bigger in your faith and life this Lent?

  • From what must you repent this Lent?

  • How can you allow the Bible to reveal Jesus to you anew this Lent?

  • How can you be more in Christ than you are just in community this Lent?