I see it everywhere… Facebook, Twitter, blogs, commenters, and on and on… Everyone seems to know what our churches REALLY need. What is interesting about these declarations is how tribal they all are.
- The Reformed tribe thinks what we REALLY need is a higher view of Scripture and God’s sovereignty. SURELY that would change everything.
- The Donald Millerish tribe seems to think what we REALLY need is more “outside the box” thinking and new practices. (I mean, how else can we get in everyones learning style!)
- The Social Justice tribe thinks we simply need to get away from dreaded dogma and save the world!
- The theologically liberal tribe thinks we just need to get past these archaic beliefs of complementarianism and beliefs against homosexuality so we can have a “real impact.”
- The Charistmatic tribe thinks if everyone would just really embrace the Holy Spirit then we could finally get somewhere!
- The “organic” tribe thinks we just need to get rid of all these dang institutions!
I could go on, but I think you get the point. Most people who know me know what “tribe” I kind of belong to. With that said, I am not a fan of tribalism. The people who have influenced me the most cross many tribes and I am grateful for all of them. John Piper and NT Writght. Graeme Goldsworthy and Eugene Peterson. Hugh Halter and Charles Spurgeon.
I don’t know what our churches REALLY need in any definitive sense. If someone asked me, “What do you think our Churches really need?” I think I would simply say, “more of God?” That can’t be wrong, right?!
I know a few things we don’t need:
- Pride in our tribalism and always pitting ourselves against one another.
- Pride in our theology and thinking it is always them that are messing it up.
- Pride in our practices and always calling out the others for not living it like we do.
I think what the church probably needs more than most the stuff I hear is, yeah, more of God, but also one another. Our tribalism certainly isn’t helping. It is okay to belong to a “tribe.” We do in fact have to have convictions that will resonate with one group of people more than another. I happily identify with people who have similar convictions to my own. What I refuse to do though is think they are the only people who I can learn from and the only people I can lock arms with.
There is a lost world out there. There is a lot to be learned. If we think we have all the answers and the problem is that everyone doesn’t listen to us we are not going to get anywhere, at all. It would help if we stopped talking so much about what we think churches REALLY need (which really is us saying what is wrong with everyone else) and started focusing on what my church, your church needs.
No church or tribe is perfect. I know I grow the most personally when I do some introspection, repentance, and seek to change. I don’t grow a lot when I spend a lot of time talking about the issues and problems of others.
We need to apply this same thing to how we relate to other churches and tribes outside of our own. A big dose of humility would go a really long way.
So, what do our churches REALLY need? I don’t really know… But I think if we listened to Jesus a little better and stopped pointing our specks while ignoring our own planks we would be off to a good start.