Thursday, February 4, 2016

Inside, Outside, Upside Down

What I have learned from ministry over the years has lead me to believe that our understanding of the church may be backwards and upside down. Our challenge is always to search the Bible to keep our perspective in line with God's. That means if what we assume is not what God says, we must adjust our thinking and change our activity. Even in what we believe about the purpose, structure, and activity of the church.

Early on, as a young pastor, I began to write down some assumptions about church and what I discovered in the Bible that demonstrated a need to change my thinking about church leadership, ministry, and our purpose. What developed was a list that I used as the Core Values when we started Grace Point Church in Buffalo, NY.

I summarize the challenge these statements present as thinking "Inside, Outside, Upside-down." We are challenged by what God wants to do spiritually on the inside of our lives and collectively as a church. We focus outside of ourselves as God calls us to interact with others in the way Jesus would. And when it comes to ministry, we have to flip our approach upside-down from some traditional approaches and structures.

These values are not necessarily new or original with me. They do come from the Bible after all, and others have stumbled onto them, taught them and even implemented them. After much thought, prayer and practice, here is the list so far. I am simply going to state them with a supporting scripture. I will unpack each one more in future posts. Please comment and interact. How can you put these into practice in your ministry and church?


1. God is on a Mission; we must discover what God is doing and get involved. Ephesians 1:3-14

2. We can't "go to church;" followers of Christ are the Church 1 Peter 2:4-10

3. Worship is not an event; it is a lifestyle of loving and serving God. 
-  Romans 12:1-2

4. Ministry is not a program; it is people serving God by serving others. 
- 1 Peter 4:10-11

5. Pastors are not "the ministers;" they are servants who create environments where all God’s people are equipped and encouraged to serve. -  Ephesians 4:11-13

6. The Church is not homogeneous; our ethnic diversity represents the fullness of God in humanity and strengthens our ability to reach our community and world. - Acts 13:1-3


7. God's goal is not our comfort; it is for life transformation which comes through 
the application of biblical truth. 2 Timothy 3:14-17

8. Simple organizational structures allow the flexibility to be most effective in God's mission. 
-  Acts 2:42-47

9. Loving like Christ is not easy; it is essential for our relationship with Christ that we view and interact with people who are overlooked and ignored
- Matthew 25:31-46


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