Last week there was a fairly major dust-up by evangelical standards when the popular spiritual memoirist Donald Miller told the world that he rarely attends church these days. He cited a personal learning style that was not particularly responsive to monological teaching as one reason. The other was a lack of connection with God through singing.
I’ve had some constructive dialogues with people who have defended Miller’s nonchalance with respect to church attendance. These conversations have stirred up in me the desire to spell out my philosophy of ministry. So, at the risk of appearing self-important and possibly overly cerebral, I venture forth. While I usually use this blog as a miscellany of short church planting proverbs, now I’ll take a more programmatic approach, even if just for a week or two.
CS Lewis said that the best way to counteract negative cultural developments is to create their happier alternatives. I’ve tried to do this in my church plant itself instead of simply whining about unfortunate church cultures. I’ll try to do something similar here by articulating a happier alternative to the particular sort of church culture that dominates evangelicalism, making it possible and perhaps even understandable for someone as serious about their spirituality as Donald Miller to rather blithely opt out.
I would welcome your comments as these posts get going. But unlike with my more one-and-done posts, I might wait to make my replies until I’ve had a chance to sketch out the contours of my philosophy of ministry as a whole. This is one of those awkward “hang on, I’ll get to that!” moments. Don’t mean to be professorial.
But to give you a quick sense of where I’m going, I am going to make the case that a church community committed to engaging together in the life rhythms of Sabbath, Neighborhood, and Vocation will be the sort of church community that our Donald Millers wouldn’t dream of casually opting out of.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
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