"Ministry, the Spirit, and the Church" addresses our family's call to ministry. I discuss what God has been teaching us about how to pursue and build his church. While there is a bit of anecdote in the first and last sections, most of the post follows Roland Allen's "Spontaneous Expansion of the Church" as he breaks down some of the pitfalls of Western Christianity and our love for pragmatism.
Allen's main thesis is that we in the West have chosen to pursue means of church expansion that lend themselves towards quelling the Spirit. They are means that embrace a love for certainty, objectivity, structure, and control. While these items Allen identifies aren't inherently bad, they are items that can't be at the forefront of our work in the church because both the Gospel and the body of Christ center around relationship with free creatures, not with scientific laws and inanimate objects. God desires us to trust in his foolish means, his power over our weakness, and his Spirit's leading as it wills over our desire for certainty and self-direction. When we break from this trust in God and embrace our own "control," the church stagnates and dies. It becomes an inanimate system rather than a living relationship.
2. Overbearing Doctrine: I consider how emphasizing Christianity primarily as doctrine can sabotage the church by creating stagnation, deemphasizing relationship, and quelling the "unqualified" vessels whom God may desire to use and or grow.
3. Overbearing Methodology: I consider how our love for systems and certainty drive us away from a trust in God's means, and stymies a Spirit lead movement in the church.
4. Overbearing Morality: I consider how our focus on moral qualification is often shaped more by our culture than by the Bible, and how we often lack the grace towards others to meet them where they're at rather than expect perfection before we accept - the opposite of what God does for us.This overbearing morality severely harms the church.
5. The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church in Romania: I take what I've gleaned from Allen and my own experience and delve into some of the big specific questions we face as we pursue ministry in Romania.