Monday, December 20, 2004

Quotes from The Younger Evangelicals

I've been working through The Younger Evangelicals. It's a really good read. The concepts are good, although not entirely new to me. Each chapter has a summary chart at the end, which is a cool idea, although isn't that a bit modern? (haha.) The big thing about the book to me is that depth of quotes from experience. Webber has read and talked to a whole lot of people. Below are some of the quotes/notes that I found interesting and important.

We had an issue in the first few months of our existence as a church with people being rude in the parking lot. The traffic jams were causing people long delays.. you know the drill. So I told the church that if you were not a follower of Jesus and you had been joining us, we were thrilled to have you in our midst. But if you were a follower of Jesus and you were being rude and mean in the parking lot, you needed to stop this behavior. And if you continued, then we would get your license plate number and treat this as an issue of church discipline. I made it clear that if we could not live up to our high calling in the parking lot, then we had no business going into the world. And besides, we could use your seat.
The place erupted in applause.
My spanking of the congregation, or at least some members of it, was met with such affirmation it was unnerving.
We have learned that people are starved for honesty. They want to be told the truth regarding money, leadership, sin, challenges facing the church – whatever it is they are desperate to know they are being given a straight dose. Even if it’s ugly.

The harder we push, the more clear we make the demands of the cross, the more we teach about self-denial and service and commitment and losing your life, the more people come. The higher we try and raise the bar, the more people join us. The greater emphasis we place on the fact that Jesus calls us to lay down our lives, the bigger the numbers.
We are learning that deep down people were wired for revolution. Nobody in the culture is calling them to anything worth dying for. They were created to live for massive, global purposes, and yet all day long they are bombarded with messages about how their life would be better with more products.

I literally announced one Sunday that a particular message I recently preached wasn’t as faithful to the text as it could have been so I was going to preach it again.
So I preached the same exact text over again.
People still remind me of that Sunday.

We actually believe that the biblical text is a living and breathing Word. For the first year or so of our existence as a church, I preached through the Book of Leviticus, verse by verse.
Yes, that’s right.
Menstrual blood, goat sacrifice, and no shell fish, please.
Every verse.
Now if you at this moment are smiling or laughing or thinking that is crazy, what have you just said about the biblical text? Do you have a canon within a canon? Either you believe that God speaks through his entire text, or you stick within the evangelically approved texts that are tamed down enough for the local congregation.
- Rob Bell, Mars Hill Church

Leroy Armstrong, pastor of a church in Kentucky, responded that the mega church movement of the last twenty years has been led by 'superstar' pastors who are now 'dying out or burned out' without having mobilized lay people for ministry. As a result, the church, which should be an army, 'still looks like an audience.'

Examples of the future of youth worker ministry:
- rooted in an embodied apologietic
the question today is not ‘Can Christians prove what they believe?’ but ‘Can Christians live what they believe?’
- youth workers will reach youth through process evangelism
- the young will be reached through narrative – a story oriented evangelism.

Theological education that is not nothing more than information boxed in by a modern statement of faith will not attract, engage or hold the minds and hearts of the new postmodern generation of evangelicals.

Younger evangelicals long for training the will lead to wisdom and spiritual leadership. Seminaries that are still committed to an Enlightenment education tend to produce critical inquiry. Biblical studies have more do with authorship and historical criticism than the message. A student may spend a semester on whether there were one or two Isaiahs or study Ephesians and wrestle with what portions came from Paul and what came from a later writer in the school of Paul. In the meantime, the message is not adequately discussed or applied to pastoral ministry. The problem with modernity is that it has separated theology from practice. All the early church theologians were pastors. The younger evangelical craves this unity between theology and practice knowing that in theology one finds wisdom for the practice of ministry and that all good practice is embodies in good theology.

"If you graduated from seminary before 1985, you were trained to lead a church that no longer exists."

"Silence every radio and television preacher, stop every evangelical book or tract, take down every evangelical website and simply ask Christians to show one tangible expression of Jesus’ love to another person every day. We would be far better off."

Good book, definitely recommended.

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