Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ready the Troops

Bob Roberts, the pastor of Northwood Baptist Church in Texas, has written a trilogy of books (my description, not his) on being the missional church. I've just finished reading Transformation, in which his basic biblical premise is this: Church planting happens through discipleship as Christians experience life transformation and move out into their communities and into the world as kingdom participants. The focus is very much centered on discipleship, so he often has to remind his readers of the need for God's people to focus on being the church as opposed to going to church. True, true.

So it's easy to ready people with whom you already agree, granted, but he provides some fresh language for concepts with which I've been wrestling for some time. I highly recommend the read to anyone interested in the topic.

Perhaps my favorite part of the book came as he writes under the heading, "What Is the Church and Who Is the Pastor?" Here's part of what he says:

If the church were a base [for the spiritual operation of advancing into
global evangelization], then the pastor would look less like a chaplain or
preacher and more like a soldier mobilizing the troops for massive advances. I
didn't realize my new role until a few years after we got into that mode of
operation. If fact, when I once asked a panel of my advisers, "Do you think of
me more as a preacher or as a pastor? the response was intriguing

One of the men quickly said, "Neither." That concerned me, since we were
evaluating my role and the church. fortunately, he swiftly followed that
statement with another: "Bob, you're a soldier, and you're turning this church
into an army!"

He was right, I had evolved into a new paradigm for the role of senior
pastor. In [this] model, the role of he pastor undergoes specific shifts--from
chaplain/preacher to soldier/diplomat. From a stateside motivator to the
in-the-field model of how it's to be done.

This is the kind of discipleship model that we pursuing at City-Wide Redeemer. It seems to most parallel that pattern of Jesus. It requires a leadership that is teaching and modeling the truth in the context of going down the road, so to speak. It's life-on-life, not information-on-life. It's the player-coach model versus trying to organize and orchestrate things from the offensive coordinator's box high above the playing field. And to be honest, it's a great privilege to be on the front line getting such an up close perspective on the action as God does His work in and through His people.

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