Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Importance of Early Stages

"Institutional decline is like a disease: harder to detect but easier to cure in the early stages; easier to detect but harder to cure later."
Jim Collins
I'm no perfectionist. I don't expect to get things right the first time around, but I'm always up for finding ways to prevent unnecessary future barriers. My wife gets annoyed when she waits for me as I stand by the door before heading out, assessing whether I have everything in my bag and pockets. Even when I'm in a rush, I often feel like lingering at the door to assess possible forgotten items is worth the delay if it could possibly prevent the devastation (couldn't think of a less dramatic word :) that comes with clinching empty pockets as the bill comes around. The earlier I catch the mistake, the easier it is to solve the problem. I eat with my mouth open, grind my teeth, slouch while typing on the computer, and my wife recently informed me that I walk with a funny bounce. We have bad habits because we didn't fully realize its eventual chronic implications. It appears harmless and fragile in its embryonic stages, but it becomes destructively concrete as it ages. This time of year is a great opportunity to assess the disciplines and habits we live out day to day and to discern whether it is helping to build upon the vision God has placed before us.

I just spotted this helpful article on a site my friend posted on facebook that details the importance of the early stages of a church. Be sure to check out the link.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Missionary Body

"The church cannot understand itself alone. It can only truly comprehend its mission and its meaning, its roles and its function in relation to others"
Jurgen Moltmann

"The Church is the Church only when it exists for others."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"What the church does internally with no intention of impacting the world outside itself is not mission. But when a local congregation understands that it is, by its nature, a constellation of mission activites, and it intentionally lives its life as a missionary body, then it begins to emerge toward becoming the authentic Church of Jesus Christ."
Charles Van Engen