A friend of mine is taking a class entitled "Creative Non Fiction." Breaking bread and sharing beverage with him one afternoon, I asked him what he planned to write?
Not realizing, for a moment, that Karen and I have published 3 books for church leaders and clergy, he said "I am not interested in another 'how to' book or a 'what to do' book for clergy and lay leaders, I want to write creative non fiction." Then he caught himself...... "I didn't mean that, your books are very helpful and I am sure they provide great tools for churches to use but they are 'how to' books and that is just not my thing."
I must admit, I thought Karen and I were writing creative non fiction. I know the books we have written are more than just a how to manual for plateaued or declining churches. Our books assume one very basic thing..... Churches do not need any more things to do, churches need to change the culture in which they live.
it is not about what we do as churches, it is about why we do what we do. Often church cultures are program driven. Karen and I believe churches must be purpose driven. The purpose is "to make new disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world." If we align our "whats" with this "why" then we will have a new local church culture. No longer will it be a culture of keep the people happy and keep the pastor satisfied, the new culture will ask "how will this activity, or any other activity in our church, help us make new disciples for Jesus and transform the world?" Truth be told, there is no other reason to do church, no other reason to have church, and this is the only appropriate way to be the church.
Moving into this new culture is hard work and time consuming but deeply rewarding. Inside this new culture there is no "change for change's sake," there is only "change for Christ's sake." It is the opportunity to get your ego out of the way..... Individual ego as well as corporate ego. Adapting to this purpose is a kissing cousin to that well worn WWJD but a more focused "how can we connect with God and turn the world upside down in the process?"
This requires a deep cultural change, not just one more new event in ministry inside an already hectic church programming calendar. No more focus on what are we doing, the real question is why do we do it?