Posts Tagged ‘Reggie McNeal’
So Beautiful: Divine Design for Life and the Church -Day 6
Epilogue and Final Thoughts -continued
I finished up So Beautiful this morning. It stays in the book bag for a reread. I know I missed a lot of what this book is speaking to me, so I’ll continue to spend time with it. I’m sure my heart and mind will be challenged further. Speaking of challenging, the epilogue of So Beautiful is sub-titled “Mirror, Mirror…” and it provides a scorecard of sorts to help us measure our MRI index (the value of how effectively we live out the missional, relational, and incarnational life). I think this is to be (or can be) applied personally (as individuals) and corporately (as a local church body). It’s a tough ending to a challenging book. We don’t like to look at ourselves in the mirror; most of us anyway. I know I’m not “magazine cover” material, and when I look into a mirror I see a rapidly aging, balding, not-so-handsome guy. In light of that awareness, I’m prone to not look in the mirror or change the criteria of assessment so what I see in the mirror appeals more favorably to me. I think we do that for our personal ministry, church, and personal maturity as disciples of Jesus. Touche’
The epilogue doesn’t just present the challenge of evaluation, but it also offers suggestions on how to become a Beautiful Church. I think this is very valuable as it provides solid, and practical, action steps for the person and/or church to start walking in divine design for life.
I am a disciple of Jesus. It is my intent to follow Him in truth and spirit. It is also my desire to serve Him in the role He has destined for me. I am a pastor. I am a leader and teacher of people. My role comes with great responsibility and a high level of accountability. So Beautiful: Divine Design for Life and the Church challenges my definition for “disciple” as well as “pastor-leader.” So Beautiful also challenges my (personal) definition of “church” the local entity and “church” the global entity. In my opinion, I think Len Sweet has portrayed a more accurate Biblical representation of the church than what we in the West have created. It is difficult for us to admit our wrongs…most often we want to do so with qualifications for our actions or excuses. Change is tough; we don’t like discomfort or difficulty…we don’t like to deliberately make people upset and change invariably makes some people upset. If we are going to be the “beautiful Bride” that is the Church, change is going to be necessary. The scorecard (as Reggie McNeal and Len Sweet refer) must be changed. Our success cannot be measured in “brick and mortar,” “building funds,” or “VBS attendance.” Our success must be measured by “Sermon on the Mount” style discipleship and fruit for our God…fruit that will last for eternity.
I will be recommending this book for my church leadership (it will be on my recommended reading list for everyone), I will also be challenging our leadership team to use the measurements found in the epilogue as practical exercises to assess our effectiveness as a seed-sowing and fruit-bearing “tree of life” in the local garden that God has planted us. My prayer is that we will become the Beautiful Church that reflects our Beautiful Savior.
Thank you Len Sweet for a great challenge.