This is who I want US to be.

01Mar05

I just sent this email to our faith community:

Dear VC,

Yesterday Kevin had a good day. During which he received a booklet by Gordon Cosby and Kayla McClurg. Well, I was intrigued by said booklet so I did what every self-respecting geek would do – I googled it.

This is what I found – Radical Newness: The Essence of Being Church by N. Gordon Cosby with Kayla McClurg – I’m not sure if that’s the same thing Kevin’s reading or not, but it is so good that I had to pass it on to our community. Here’s the link to it – http://www.faithatwork.com/articles/2001/01-2/CosbyG_01-2.html I’ve also pasted the text below and highlighted some key thoughts that I think are applicable for us.

I want to offer some commentary and reflection on this – I’ll do so on my blog – www.aaronklinefelter.com.

We’re on this journey together, let’s hold hands.

Love,

Aaron

——————

(I didn’t paste the text here, you can click the link above to go read it, but I wanted to offer the promised commentary and reflection)

First off Gordon Cosby is Da Man. He’s got balls (I’m sure he’d appreciate that). If you know his and Church of the Saviour’s story then you know what I mean. If not, you should.

“To do a new thing always means an undoing of the old. The way the world has been is collapsing and, at the same time, being redeemed. The central context and instrument of this change is the Church. Just as God’s central work is to generate newness, our central work is to be the Body of Christ — the salt of the earth. Out of this corporate being flows all of our other work. If we are to be faithful to Christ, we cannot by-pass Church. God has given us a vision of the way the world can be. It is not our job to make it happen, but to companion God and willingly carry the piece of the dream God gives us to carry. Our task is to be so deeply and intimately connected with Christ that the world will experience the resurrected Christ — the newness God intends — whenever it touches our corporate life.”

As a community we are on a journey. My sense is that its been a rocky one at points. I want to encourage us as a Community of Believers. I think we get easily discouraged – I know I do. For me, and I need to be honest here, it is when the turn out at an AllGroup, LC, or gathering is less than expected. We have around 100 folks in our network and rarely do we all gather together. Perhaps this isn’t discouraging to you. But it is to me. I love it when all of our little bands (house churches) of believers get together and cross-polinate. I want that to be what our AllGroups are and I want our LCs to be that on a leadership level. I believe we will grow into this…. but it will take time.

For me letting go of that discouragement is important – cause it really isn’t about getting us all together – its about us being a “companion [with] God and willingly carry the piece of the dream God gives us to carry”. Its about being freed by and into the radical newness of God. Its us committing “then, to stay with it — to link oneself intimately with a little group of unimpressive people, to grow together into a community of love, working out problems corporately, to move from the initial excitement of saying a resounding and individual yes to Christ into the rigor of living that yes with others in long-haul faithfulness — that is another level of commitment altogether.”

I’m not good at that, and my hunch is you aren’t either, but that maybe, just maybe we can stumble toward that together. Along the way we will dissappoint one another and make each our fair share of mistakes. But its not about producing the best, slickest, nicest, most friendly, ___________est church – its about being the Body of Christ together over the loooooooonnnnnnnnnngggggggg haul.

Vineyard Central is not about being a new model for how to do church. It is not about being relevant, cogent, or even right. “Our culture promotes a constant filling up, but our disciplines will draw us toward greater emptiness, so that we can be better prepared for obedience and, ultimately, for finding our place in God’s plan — finding true relevance.”

So, I’m hopeful that this is an encouragement to some who need it. I think that Cosby has important words that we need to hear. Let’s hear them together.

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