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Wednesday, 15 June 2011

How do we maintain the balance between the dynamic and the static?

The two aspects of Church Life: Static and Dynamic
There are two aspects to church life, according to the NT. First of all, there are those static elements. We need to feed the flock, sustain the ongoing fellowship, teaching and life of the church. Spiritual life is not automatic but must be maintained and nourished.

But then there is also the dynamic aspect to church life. This is its outward mission to the world, its evangelism, its kingdom growth.

No church has got these two in balance or proportion!

Imbalance (1) Too much Dynamic
You might think this imbalance was impossible, but not so. Churches - very often led by men whose primary gift is evangelism - place too much emphasis on outreach. You end up with tons of young believers, but if you are not careful, the church ends up a mile wide and only an inch deep.

Imbalance (2) Too much Static
By far the more common imbalance in Western Christendom is the tendency to be inward looking, concentrating on the needs of the existing believers.  In this case you end up with fat sheep inside (and totally lost sheep outside).

Enter - the NT
The first five books of the NT (Dynamic) demonstrate the balance when placed alongside the rest of the letters and Revelation (Static). The Pentateuch of the NT reveals the dynamic growing, expanding ministry of Jesus, first in his ministry and then through the church by his Holy Spirit. The rest of the NT display nurturing care for the flock.

Churches that focus only on the letters end up with fat sheep (fat by the way = unhealthy). Churches that focusonly on Acts end up with harried and thin sheep (equally unhealthy).

Input and Output
Another way of putting this is to say that the church has been blessed (static) in order to be a blessing to others (dynamic). And only when churches and individuals give out as well as take in will they grow and mature.

Living Seas and The Dead Sea
Living seas give out as well as take in. There are enormous ocean currents that carry water and nutrients and heat into and out of the oceans of the world. Without this the oceans of the world would be all input and no output.

But there is one wierd sea, wierd because it is all input and no output. It's got a ton of nutrients in it, but nothing can live in its waters. So as well as being weird it is dead.

Churches - or Christians who are all input and no output become wierd
- and eventually die. Isn't this what happened to the Amish? Without output, they became an eccentric community spiralling away from the real world. Soon they put secondary truths first (and that always results in putting primary truths secondary). Now, so far away from the world, they cannot even relate to the world.

Only when there is both output as well as input in our lives will there be balance and the beauty of Jesus in our lives and our communities.

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