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Don’t start a movement; start caring for those around you sacrificially.

Posted by on Feb 6, 2012 in blog links, discipleship, service | 10 comments

Don’t start a movement; start caring for those around you sacrificially.

The title of this post comes from another post by Dave Black. Yes, after not linking to his site for some time, I’m now linking to him twice in only a matter of days.

This time, he’s talking about “archy” and specifically “Christian archy” – both his book by that title and submission to God’s reign.

This is what he says (on Monday, February 6, 2012 at 7:57 a.m.):

Any Christian movement or ideology that takes the place of the cross has absolutely no biblical or theological foundation for its existence.

This is one reason I am reticent to identify myself with the “homeschool” movement or the “agrarian” movement or the “church growth” movement or other similar movements. Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated a beautiful spiritual truth when he wrote, “The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.” Many modern evangelical “causes” or “movements” are, frankly, in love with their causes and movements. We are tempted to enshrine our programs in golden calves and “Christian” bureaucracies. Indeed, once you start a 501(c)3 you feel obligated to do all you can to perpetuate your organization. You fight for the limited resources that are out there while forgetting that God is bigger than our petty organizations. Bonhoeffer was right. When we love our “dream” or “vision” more than the reality, we end up destroying both.

I want to make a modest suggestion: Our goal should not be to establish our majestic mega-church models but to embrace a “movement-less” kingdom that grows by simply caring for those around us sacrificially.

Yep. That’s it. When we submit to God as our one and only king, he leads us to follow his son, Jesus Christ. And, what did Jesus say about his own life on earth: “I did not come to be served, but to serve.”

That’s our calling as well: serve!

I’m not interested in any kind of movement, other than the way God moves in my life and in the lives of the people around me to serve and care for others.

But, I’ve found that’s the most difficult movement to take part in… I keep getting in the way.


10 Comments

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  1. 2-6-2012

    Thanks for this post. I appreciate the timing. This year we’ve been opening our home up for groups of people coming over to simply hang out. The response has been great, and it is neat seeing who God picks to send our way. We often start over-thinking what we are doing, and consider forcing a more spiritual focused time. But this weekend I felt at peace with where we are at. I feel God is teaching us how to care for people first, and opportunities may come later for different types of teaching, prayer, etc.

    (And I know some forms of teaching do happen in these less structured times, and some forms of prayers have reached the ears of our Lord.)

    I’m realizing (sadly) that I would feel more comfortable being part of some academic theology discussion. But that may not be where God wants us to start. I think He wants to teach us how to care for others. And this sadly doesn’t come naturally to me. But we will follow this path, and see where it goes.

    Thanks Alan (& Dave)
    Jon

  2. 2-6-2012

    Re the Bonhoeffer quote: I have been guilty of loving the idea of community too much and it has caused me, and others, a great deal of pain. I think I was trying to love sacrificially, but I also think I got in the way of what God was doing at times.

  3. 2-6-2012

    I just read this on Dave’s blog and jumped over here and read it too! Perhaps the Lord is trying to tell me something! ;-) Excellent thoughts by Dave and you.

  4. 2-7-2012

    Do we have to slam those that call themselves a movement before we can care for those around us, sacrificially?

  5. 2-7-2012

    Jon,

    Thanks for the comment. That’s a great example of what I’m talking about here. I often struggle to keep my focus on God through caring for and serving others.

    Fred,

    Your comment reminds me of a problem that I had early in the my marriage. I was “sacrificially” serving and caring for my wife… but not in the ways that she needed to be served and cared for. Instead, I was doing things in the way that *I* wanted to do them.

    Scott,

    Maybe he’s trying to tell both of us something.

    Bruce,

    My intent was to show apathy towards any kind of movement, not to slam them or those who take part in them. My question for those who are part of movements or who are not part of movements would be the same: Are you serving and caring for others in Jesus’ name?

    -Alan

  6. 7-13-2012

    Thanks for digging this stuff up, Alan. If I’m not careful I’ll be linking to you every single day.

  7. 7-14-2012

    Randall,

    Thanks for linking to my posts!

    -Alan

  8. 8-4-2012

    I feel that this article goes much too far in indiscriminately condemning all movements. What was wrong with the home school movement? Millions of Christian children benefited from that instead of having been forced to attend public schools.

    Moreover, cannot a Christian start a movement solely out of a God-given desire to serve others? Cannot such a Christian actually be compelled by the love of Christ to start a movement, such as to free slaves?

    How does one define a movement anyway? Didn’t Paul start a “movement” every time he preached the gospel and planted a church in a new city?

    Without movements, the Church wouldn’t be where it is today, and probably (God forbid) wouldn’t exist at all. To condemn all movements is, to use a common cliche, to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

  9. 8-5-2012

    Martin,

    I think the balance in understanding what Dave Black was talking about in this quote is this statement: “Many modern evangelical ’causes’ or ‘movements’ are, frankly, in love with their causes and movements.”

    -Alan

  10. 10-9-2012

    Communicating redemptive love for sinners, in word and deed, is the message, mission and method of Christ to the world (1 Tim. 1:15).

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