Church Culture (part 2)

    It has been said that if we set no goals we will reach our aim every time.  Should congregations set goals and direction?  If we do set goals and direction how do we choose our direction?  Is this important for the cause of Christ?  Truthfully we set direction without realizing what we have done.

     As Jesus stood in the garden of Gethsemane he prayed that we speak the same thing.  In many instances we have determined that Jesus meant we must say the same things in the exact way.  It has been a foundational doctrine among us that we must interpret Scripture exactly the same in every instance. In essence we have taught we must be clones of one another in our beliefs and views of Scripture.  I do not believe this was what Jesus was teaching or intended.  Even the first century church had difficulty seeing everything in the same light. Why do we believe we can do better?  As Jesus stood in the garden He was praying that we maintain the same direction.  Jesus intent was that our direction be one of unity and evangelism. To fulfill the prayer of Jesus we must maintain His direction.

     In 1889 Daniel Sommers presented a speech at Sand Creek in Shelby County Illinois.  In this discourse Daniel Sommers established a culture in the Churches of Christ that remains to some degree even through this present day.  From 1889 we have nurtured a culture that is divisive, judgmental and separatist. It is wrapped up in the “sameness” doctrine. This culture cannot and will not effectively preach Christ. We have produced direction and goals that are unique to our fellowship.   Unfortunately those goals do not mirror the direction of Jesus. I fear that often our direction does not present an answer to Jesus prayer at Gethsemane.  Many congregations adopt these views because this is all that is known. We have been exposed to this mindset only and as a result this is all we know.  This has become who we are.

     The questions are simple.  The answers are difficult.  How do we create a culture of unity and evangelism in our brotherhood?  Is it possible for us to change direcion after these many years:  Are there enough who are willing to pay the price to create the proper culture among us?  Perhaps we should be asking, “Do we really have a choice?”  If we have created a direction and culture that does not produce proper results, can we afford to continue without changing that culture?

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