Tuesday, May 07, 2013

The Presence-Driven Church

Going where the wind leads on Lake Erie

Unless the Lord builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.

- Psalm 127:1

I pastor a Presence-Driven church, not a Program-Driven or Purpose-Driven church.

"Presence" is prior to "Program" and "Purpose." If, out of abiding in God's presence, God says "Build a program," then obey and build, empowered and led by God. As for "purpose," the only purpose needed is: for the sake of God. That is, if God says "Do this" or "Go here" or "Speak this," we do not need to know the answer to the question "Why?" Obeying God is reason enough. I have found that, often, I do not understand the purpose behind God's leading. I might like to know, but am not going to wait around until I get an answer.

Action and reason (telos) emerge out of dwelling in the presence of God. For that reason our church's staff and leaders qualifications are:
  • spends much time praying (listening and speaking) with God
  • lives life in and out of the preence of God
  • saturates in Scripture
  • hears God/listens to God
  • obeys when God directs
Our church's Elders are non-task oriented. I've cringed at church boards that are run by non-spiritual, non-praying people who rely on their own mental abilities and lead the church, instead of being led by the Spirit. This is disaster since, as Ps. 127:1 tells us, unless God builds the house we're totally wasting our time.

The Presence-Driven Church risks all on the following:
  • God exists
  • God loves us
  • God wants to be the Leader
  • Human vessels must follow after God
  • It is possible to hear God, and be led by God
  • If God does not speak, we will not act but wait (no activity for activity's sake; no panic-room, knee-jerk "doing"
  • When God leads, we will obey
The Core Value of the Presence-Driven Church is: Abide in Christ, like a branch connected to the true Vine. Presence-Driven leaders do this, and show their people how to do this.

Presence-Driven Jesus-followers trust that, as they dwell closely to Christ, their lives, indivisdually and corporately, will bear much fruit.