Pastors’ Conference, Bucharest

It was such a privilege to share with experienced church leaders in Bucharest some of the lessons I have been learning on missional church. They face the same challenges as we do. They, like us, scored much higher on their UP and IN.  Their OUT, personally and corporately, was much lower (see more on UP-IN-OUT here). That said, the attractional model was still proving more fruitful for them. Several of the churches talked of 8-10 people coming to faith in Christ for the first time in 2011. Praise God.

Their cultural challenge however is different to ours with a huge nominal Christian Orthodox population. Thinking this through reminded me of the continual need for the church to adapt itself to its cultural context. They need missional communities for sure. But they will look different ours. And so they should.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NIV)
19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.
20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.
21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.
22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.
23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

And the best bit, Dominos Pizza for lunch!

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2 thoughts on “Pastors’ Conference, Bucharest

  1. Jill was speaking about the triangle in her message on Sunday, and also about the need for balance. Without wishing to distract from the usefulness of the triangle, we need to be aware that as there is an in and an out, there is also an up and a down, where the down is just the rest of our lives. Unless we can get a balance between our time in church, our time in our missional communities, our time with God and the rest of our lives we won’t be at rest.

    • You are right to point out that balance is required across the whole of our lives. Without that balance we will be ineffective.

      Two additional things might be worth reflecting on here:
      1. is there really such a thing as ‘the rest of our lives?’ We naturally tend to divide our lives into segments. Christians in the West have typically divided their lives into things that are SACRED (going to church, church type meetings, or spiritual type activities such as prayer and Bible study) and things that are SECULAR (going to work, leisure, etc). The Bible has no sacred/secular divide. All life is from God, important to God and should be lived for God. The London Institute of Contemporary Christianity (Licc.org.uk) has done a lot of great week at trying to challenge this worldview. This is where I personally find the triangle most helpful as a grid for the whole of my life.
      2. If I apply the triangle to the whole of my life it helps me to break down my tendency to compartmentalise. For example, the UP makes me seek to be God-conscious in everything that I do and not just in the things that I might have traditionally thought that God was interested in. The IN reminds me that if in any context I am relating to Christians then I have a responsibility to encourage and develop them or allow them to encourage and develop me. I find it easy to let that slip and simply enjoy the good company of other Christians. The OUT, and this is the one generally less on our agenda, reminds me that in any context where I am engaging with not-yet Christians I have a responsibility to relate in such a way that they are drawn towards Christ. The triangle then gives me a lens through which to view the whole of my life. It is also a check for me that I am spending a balance of time between the three dimensions that are present in every aspect of life.

      If you are just joining the conversation a explanation of UP – IN – OUT can be found here https://simonharriswrites.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/how-balanced-are-we/

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