According to Len Sweet in his book, Soul Tsunami, there are essentially four kinds of churches.
1. Mission churches. These churches are on the front lines of gospel expansion. They have a radar for the “ungospelized,” and desire to have others discover the joy of the gospel by serving, reaching and discipling these new, unreached people. These churches take risks, often steping out onto the water to walk with Jesus.
2. Ministry churches. These are churches that provide lots of activities for those within the church. If they reach out, it is primarily to those who are like themselves and are already reached. There is little gospel risk in these churches.
3. Maintenance churches. These are churches that play it safe in the harbor, and are content with preserving customs. They seem to have life, but it is a cruise control type of life. These churches often envy ministry churches and are suspicious of mission churches.
4. Monument churches. These churches are fully ingrown and ultimately dying, living off of the memories of the past. These churches are jealous of maintenance churches, suspicious of ministry churches, and fear mission churches.
Every new church is either a ministry church or a mission church. However, over time, most have a tendency to slip into maintenance mode… or worse! Most of my pastoral experience has been with ministry churches, and so I am inclined to lead Creekstone in that direction.
However, as I reflect and pray, I am not satisfied with that track. I want to be missional. This does not mean that we neglect the core, but that we equip the core to be Jesus-centered, gospel-centered, grace-centered, and cross-centered! Then we will love each other in a way that is compelling to the outside world. We will serve the out side world in such a way that they ask questions. We will invite. We will give. We will repent. We will forgive. We will love.
What will this mean for Creekstone. Wow, I’m not sure. The harbor is calm (and honestly, I like calm), and the sea of mission is turbulent. But that is where Jesus is, and it is where I want to go. So, if you are willing, let’s set sail and pray for the wind of the Spirit to lead us!