Journeying With Jesus

The Adventure of Faith

Insanity: Doing the same thing and expecting different results!

We are all familiar with the definition of insanity. It doesn’t always stop us from acting in insane ways, however! There are times we are so stuck, or we don’t see other options before us that we just continue to do the same behavior over and over and over again. Sometimes it doesn’t sink in until the PAIN level of the results gets our attention and we can look outside of our box for new solutions.

In some fashion, pastoring in a church has a level of insanity. Having lived in the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas for over 30 years, I recently surveyed the results of the Church’s impact on our region during that time. What became very apparent was that the number of followers of Jesus has pretty well stayed the same or declined over the last 30 years in this region. Yes people have come to Christ…some have moved out of the region… some have moved into the area…some have died…some have been biologically born into Christian homes. We have seen some churches grow in attendance and many decline. However the NET RESULT is that we have not seen an increase in followers of Jesus in the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas. Most church growth is a reshuffling of dissatisfied believers from one church to the next “hottest” church. Does this cause anyone else a measure of PAIN?

I believe God is calling forward a new way of “being the church.” It will be quite different than anything we have ever encountered. It will entail a return to the church reflecting a more organic and Spirit-led life illustrated in the first century. We will see an increase in meeting in homes and public places. We will see the Next Reformation of the releasing of men, women, and children as priests and ministers of the Lord. It will also entail some of the following characteristics:

It will be a movement – because one new church is not enough.

It will be church planting– not growing megachurches, but growing many churches.

It will be pioneering – we will be going where none of us have gone before…fortunately Jesus is leading the way.

It will be community-based – the focus will be on relationships and not on programs.

It will be simple – so it can be easily transferred to daughter and granddaughter churches.

It will be New Testament– meeting in homes for Body life ministry and in the public places for Celebration Gatherings.

It will be founded on prayer – we aren’t smart enough to figure this out on our own; nor strong enough to do it on our own power.

It will be outside the walls – we will be with Jesus in our local communities and not asking people to come to our buildings.

It will be new wine skins – the priority will be on the new wine; wine skins are here only to serve the wine.

It will be about healing – our mandate is to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed and declare the year of favor.

It will be Spirit empowered – relying on the Spirit to release all the gifts to all the people that all may serve as priests in ministry unto the Lord.

It will be transformational – we will see life change as central to the gospel; we will see change in people, families, cities, regions, and nations.

It will be future oriented – we will see ourselves raising up the next generation as leaders of society and the church.

It will be apostolic – we will see many new leaders whose calling it is to saturate our region with new, independent but a voluntarily associated family of churches.

I think anything less will not be effective in discipling the nations and fulfilling the call Jesus has placed on the church. Anything less just might be INSANE.

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July 11, 2007 - Posted by | House Church

6 Comments »

  1. I am all for a new thing. 🙂 I love the house church particularly for its community orientation and its participatory nature. No sitting in the pew in this kind of church. Its an opportunity for solid relational discipleship.

    Comment by Karen K | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  2. I have been discovering that people get “inside” my old walls. In this new work I am getting to know people at a much deeper level than ever before. It can get quite messy and scary! But I now recognize it for community. I can’t ever go back.

    Comment by Dave G | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  3. So I wish you’d quit asking such penetrating questions! Gets uncomfortable! Nah! Good thoughts, great ministry. Thanks for your heart and your courage; for your listening to and following the leading of the Spirit.

    Comment by Mike G | July 16, 2007 | Reply

  4. I came across your site looking for this definition of insanity, but I was coming at it from a completely different perspective. I was thinking about how God does/does not answer prayers and does/does not “get through” to non-believers. I came across a non-believer who asks “why won’t God heal amputees.” At first it just seemed very flippant, but it got me to think. God seems to only answer prayers that could easily be attributed to the goodness of other people or even to chance. Healing an amputee would certainly convince most non-believers that He exists and answers prayers. Jesus said, “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” [John 14:14]. So if God knows that there is still much doubt in the world and that he continues to be separated from many people of His creation, then why does He continue to do the same things that do not always work? That just seems to add more doubt. I’m searching for the answer. God bless.

    Comment by Rob H | August 10, 2009 | Reply

    • Hey Rob,

      Great question! I think the answer might be surprising but God still does miraculous healings today. First we see many of these incidents outside of the U.S. I have a friend who plants churches in Africa who tells me that around 80% of the new converts come because of a miracle or healing that they have seen. These include deaf people hearing and the dead being raised. God is still a God of love and power today and He loves it when his people press in to pray and believe for “signs and wonders.” In the west our faith is pretty wimpy but we are seeing a more radical follower of Jesus emerging and with it a lot more healings and miracles. We are still early on the learning curve but we have been seeing healings in our church. We hope to develop a culture of expectancy, faith, love, and power so that many outside the kingdom will come in. Thanks for asking.

      Comment by gschwend | August 10, 2009 | Reply

      • That’s very interesting. So you’re saying that God does not perform these miracles so much here because our faith is lacking? If we just have more faith, then he will raise the dead? I think this would be a very radical concept to Christians in the west. I think many might resent the idea that our faith is not so great. I am not aware of any direct proof of these miracles (“raising the dead”), but I think that if there was some, you would see a massive wave of greater faith. Thanks for the quick reply.

        Comment by Rob H | August 10, 2009


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