It is important to be practical and realistic in ministry, especially when it comes sharing the Gospel and establishing new churches. But is it possible to be too practical? It certainly is when the desire for results and finding methods that “work” outweigh a desire to search the Scriptures and find out what are God’s priorities and God’s methods for building his church.
I have just started reading the 9Marks July/August 2009 eJournal on pragmatism in missions. One of the first articles, “Pragmatism, Pragmatism Everywhere!” by Andy Johnson frames the discussion well and is a must read. Johnson puts into print what I have been thinking about for some time: Is there some sort of disconnect in the minds of missionaries and other Christians who claim to uphold the authority of Scripture yet deny it in practice?
In the “Not-So-Recommended Resources” section, Ed Roberts’ review of David Garrison’s book, “Church Planting Movements”, says exactly what I have been thinking. Namely, the push for rapid reproduction among churches runs the danger of short changing the development of mature stable churches with Biblically qualified leadership. Certainly, I don’t want to burden down new churches with heavy layers of extra Biblical requirements but on the other hand I don’t want the desire for numbers (of believers and churches) to drive me to neglect Scripture and spiritually hamstring the church.
I am looking forward to reading through some more articles in this issue of the 9Marks eJournal. What I have read so far has been a very sane and level headed corrective to the over emphasis on pragmatism and what “works” in modern missions.