Kingdoms in the world or, the American Church

Looking about there are so many castles
Monuments to kingdoms built in this world
One compromise formed after another
Establishing, and maintaining diplomatic ties

Kingdom politics are overwhelming
Back-room deals made to further the cause
Compromise turned into doctrine
Men standing in the place of God

Standards of success are building a fortress
The ends justify any means
Prosperity is evidence of blessing
The fortress is placed above the persons

Cults of personality must be established
A single person to praise or to damn
Every speech must be world class
Standards beyond the ability of the greatest writers

Applause is placed above truth
The object is to sell, not to teach
No room is left for the divine
There is only place for the target customer

But, can the two kingdoms touch?
Will the kingdom of the world enter the kingdom of heaven?
Christ himself refused to build on the world
Can we judge better than he?

Do the worldly standards apply?
What of those who’s growth is stunted?
Cut down because they stood too high
A worshiped personality cannot bear competition

Can marketing ever educate?
Can we grow, buying the same brand day after day?
So many repeat customers?
But does the gospel compete for sale?

So many kingdoms built upon the earth
Where can I find those who belong to the Kingdom of God?

I have been working on a church planting proposal, in market speak, We seek to combine traditional methods with post-modern information age needs, adapting pre-modern methods in order to reach a non-targeted post-modern population with the gospel of Christ, and foster their growth in the Christian community. We would accomplish this through building an elder ruled lay ministry, an aggressive Christian Education program (to develop this lay ministry) and through maximizing public visibility. A broad lay leadership would both encourage Christian growth among the church members, and make ministering to ignored populations (such as those who work Sunday mornings) somewhat easier.

I hate market speak. In plain English. I want to rent a store front in the down town district, (high population density, accessible by foot, every city festival has events in the area — every parade marches by… we could not help but be seen — and, we would be preaching the gospel in the marketplace.), it would be nice if we could increase visibility and connection to the community by having office staff there while the shops are open… realistically, that would require pay… a break with the early tradition of a purely volunteer ministry, but, the current world makes these demands (we are not so patient as we were before the telephone was invented) — and we cannot return to the 18th century. The worship services (different ones to meet different people’s needs… some people, such as production workers, large store workers… even pastors (who are often to busy keeping everything going to actually participate in worship), work Sunday morning, and cannot worship with other Christians.), traditional Quaker in form… Strong elders, deliberate training of potential lay ministers and a Christian Education program that teaches people the same sorts of skills someone learns in Seminary. Also skills that once seemed common to most Christians (Reading and interpreting scripture, detailed studies of bible books, knowledge of traditional Christian doctrine (I.e. what the catholics call Catechism — likely a study of the Nicene Creed, as that is about the only thing Christians have ever agreed on…. yet now neglected). The goal would be to: raise up a group of laymen to where they could encourage each other in the faith without the need of a personality to follow. To follow Christ instead of a man, helping each other in the journey.

I think, this would work well for the current working class — just as the mega church model works well for the class that works in marketing.

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4 comments on “Kingdoms in the world or, the American Church

  1. LAR_Northman says:

    Wow, the fact that you can write market speak is just amazing.

    This sound like a good idea. Almost like the early Quaker or Salvation Army movements.

  2. Mark Kelley says:

    Both ways of describing your vision seem complelling to me. The strong Christian Ed component sets it apart from the visible parts of most post-modern faith communities I know.

    • I see it as a neo-Conservative Quaker faith community. I noticed when studying at Barclay that Robert Barclay addressed many of the needs in our post-modern culture. My greatest difficulty is finding qualified elders. (have a few ideas) Success in such a ministry would at times feel like herding cats.

      The strong Christian ed is important to me, because I cannot see it surviving otherwise. The more responsibilities the laity have, the more vital Christian education becomes.

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