The Heart or The Form?


A time of decay, death and also LIFE!

Change is always a toughy for some, while consistency is a
deal-breaker for others.

Just read (as I often do) a blog and missional space that re-thinks and
re-does mission. A sort of local church make-over/do-over. Some very
cool, creative and good points were raised.

From my personal study I think some great ideas have actually been
lived out with enough passage of time that very positive, even solid,
scriptural results have happened.

Conversion, discipleship, missionary-sending in the fresh (for now)
paradigm. It’s good. It’s rarely “all good” though.

See, wherever you go, there you are.

A self-centered, not-so-mature motive is one reason new stuff happens
-just as a God-and-people-in-need-centered motive mixed with humility,
a listening ear and a bit of wisdom (not only knowledge) is also how
new stuff happens and not-so-new stuff succeeds in terms of genuine
spiritual success. Success is when God truly spoke, people heard and in
love obeyed, planted and cooperated with Him in harvesting.

The problem with paradigms, programs, structures, ministry approaches,
how to “do”, not do, and/or undo “church” or “mission” or “community” is
that people are involved.

The genuine calling and conviction from God the Holy Spirit, the actual
Person of Jesus doing the directing, being glorified and HIS kingdom
(not our own nor our own sweet version which is sometimes linked more to
personal “like”- think Facebook:) being further established is not… I
say IS ***NOT*** a “one-size-fits-all” structural “thing”.

NOR is it “this is NEW and EXCITING and FITS MEEEEEEEEEEEEE… so it
MUST BE GOD!!!” thing.

Dear reader, I, you, all of us only “have in part” as individuals as
well as groups, be it small or large.

We can and ought to do our best to hear Him and in love and with His
love the motive, obey. But as Paul aptly writes, the foundation must be
Christ, not self nor self-fulfillment. You and I are likely fulfilled by
doing what He is directing, but let us be honest in that just as men may
be motivated by a beautiful woman, marrying with sex and desire for
personal gratification isn’t anything near to all God wants for us in

So exactly what specific structure did Jesus both preach and live out in
His three years of physical, earthly ministry alongside His disciples?

I am personally convinced the “template”, the exact detailed answer to
this question is that it was in a word, relational. Period.

They heard, saw, were alongside Him and the rest is history.

He said “I come to do Your will oh God”, just as it is/was written in
the Word of the Father.

Structure is not synonymous with the fruit of the Spirit. It may give a
bit of a clue but it is -not- the character of the people imagining,
working, building or maintaining the structure.

There are casualties along the road- some stuck in the old, dead,
irrelevant to some way of doing things… some who in retrospect found
the same cement-shoes in what had been “the new and much-improved”

Wherever you go, there you are.

I have seen the life of the Spirit and what I believe will prove
eternal fruit from God’s judgment in what some deemed irrelevant or
ridiculous in BOTH old and new ways of doing church, mission, ministry.

When a well-known Christian personality fell, a youth pastor was fully
devastated. In asking his pastor how to handle the pain of it all, the
old saint quietly said “It’s a terrible thing when a person’s ministry
eclipses their character”. And this is the core point, not “old” or
“new” forms.

Consider, play with, design or re-design the paradigm… but character
trumps it every time.

Things to consider?

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn



  1. Hi Glenn, just wondering on your thoughts on a topic…I often feel I’m being led to consume God through some modern worship lyrics. To hear the buzz about the worship top ten songs or the current number one…is it an ‘I’ culture problem? Maybe I’m being an old cynic (43 years old now). It’s just that it doesn’t sit right with me, it’s not well with my soul, or as you’d say- my ‘in part’ knowledge.

    1. On one hand John, it’s all about sharing songs, music at a profit. Hopefully spiritual -as well as loot, and peeps do have to pay bills. At the same time the “industry” is just that, at tines that affects verbage, publicity, touring, etc.. Spiritually speaking, top 10 to God?? I doubt our rating systems have much in common with His. -Glenn

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