Not too long ago, I received a series of fascinating words from three fortune cookies. Here is the second one:
You are talented in many ways.
This is true for each one of us. God has gifted each person in different ways so that as a community we are able to function well. I am delighted by the talents that God has given others that are different than my own and am humbled to be able to use the talents that God has given me. In what ways do you find yourself surprised by the talents that God has given you or others?
There is no group, connection, cluster or network of churches that doesn’t have issues. Being connected is part of who we are as Christians. There is no use complaining, but great value in working in God‘s kingdom and renewal within the church. I ran across this advice in a post by Matt Judkins from Tim Keller via DJ Chuang’s blog and found it valuable enough to pass along to you.
I wonder where you’d go to find a truly missional denomination? I don’t know of any. For missionally minded churches, any denominational connection will bring you into relationship with some other churches and ministers who downright embarass you. This will be true of any ecclesiastical body with more than 5 churches in it. I don’t think that going independent and only staying connected in to a missional ‘network’–which has no disciplinary authority–is the answer either.
My counsel: 1) inhabit a denomination with a historic tradition you admire (Reformed, Lutheran, Anglican, Baptist) 2) stay in a denomination if it gives you space to follow your calling, 3) don’t be marginal to it–be active in the denomination, but 4) don’t be too absorbed in all its workings and especially not in its politics.
I agree with Matt and would clearly add Methodist as a historic tradition. As John Wesley admonishes us, “You have nothing to do but to save souls; therefore spend and be spent in this work.”