Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Absence-Driven Church

Woodward Avenue in Detroit near Comerica Park

I pastor a presence-driven church. The basic idea is: 1) God is able to lead church; and 2) desires to lead church. These are strong claims which, if true, have radical implications. This changes church leadership from business models to discerning, obedient communities

So is its contrary, the absence-driven church. The basic idea is: God is either able or unable to lead our church, and chooses not to lead us. This is a strong claim. If true, then I would leave the ministry and have nothing to do with church. We would just be leading ourselves, religiously. In the absence of God, we drive ourselves. The blind lead the blind.

One mark of a Presence-Driven Church is the people saying, "Surely the Lord is in this place!" Without that we have Nietzsche's madman who wandered through Europe from cathedral to cathedral intoning "requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: "What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?"" (Nietzsche, "The Parable of the Madman.")