Apr. 21, 2022.
Christian ministry and leadership functions in an intersection between two worlds. We live in a natural world with predictable patterns, and yet we work for the Kingdom of God that is anything but patterned and predictable.
#JesusStories: Mark 9 begins with a quote from Jesus about how some of his disciples would actually see the Kingdom come with power. And then only six days later, three of the disciples watched Jesus’ body and clothes transfigure into an unearthly white in preparation of a meeting with Elijah and Moses – who suddenly appeared. Then, a cloud descended over them and voice from that cloud said, “This is my Son, Listen to what he says!” Side-note: This is one of the many scriptures that underscore the kerygmatic theology that Jesus’ words and stories are to be held in a high place. All in all, this was a mysterious account that bends the rules of physics. Peter, James, and John witnessed a lot of unexplainable things during those hours.
How do these unexplainable stories affect you? It is true that we minister with one foot in this practical world and the other in the heavenly world. We are not only called to live between the “already” and the “not-yet” realities of the inbreaking kingdom, but we are called to stand between “earthly needs” and “divine interventions”. At times I suppose we are tempted to follow the gnostics, explain away the mysterious, and drift back to practical and predictable versions of ministry. But is that the call Jesus gave us? It seems he told all of us to heal the sick, dispel evil, and preach the kingdom to the poor, all of which are unexplainable and illogical approaches to ministry. But something happens when we leave room for Jesus to show up with unexplainable interventions – we get to watch the Kingdom come with power. And I want that!
#DinnerChurchQuotes: Paul was obviously committed to evangelism, but as a by-product of the empowerment of the Spirit and the community’s worship around tables, in which the boundaries of the church were very fluid. (italics mine) -James DG Dunn
#PracticalStuff: Christianity began with several repeating practices performed by Jesus over a three year period. (Preaching to the poor, dinner with sinners, healing, confronting evil, telling stories, just to name a few). Your dinner church has some repeating practices that make it thrive too. In fact, your list of repeating practices comes from the same list as Jesus’ repeating practices. Are you talking about these practices with your team? Often? Reminding them of what makes a Dinner Church thrive? If you don’t, it will drift back to being a feed with a short inspirational story. But if you do, a divine presence will download into your rooms over and over again, and you will find yourselves in the worthy business of populating heaven and helping broken people to take-on the very likeness of Christ.
Blessings & Boldness,
Dr. Verlon and Melodee Fosner have led a multi-site Assemblies of God Dinner Church in Seattle, Washington since 1999 (www.CommunityDinners.com). In this decade when more churches in the U.S. are declining than thriving, and when ninety-six churches a week are closing, Verlon and Melodee sensed that a different way of doing church was needed for their 97-year old Seattle congregation. It soon became obvious that they were not the only ones in need of a different path. They joined the FX team in 2016 and founded the Dinner Church Collective. And then in 2019 founded the Dinner Church School of Leadership. There is a lot to be gained when church leaders begin to see open doors in the American landscape that they had previously overlooked. Therein lies the journey for those who will forge a new future for the American Church.