(This Post First Appeared in Missio Alliance)
I can remember over 15 years ago now, having a memorable conversation with my pastor at that time. I was a student pastor way back then and eager to fix our church which I thought was becoming irrelevant in its community and in danger of dying. I had been reading a lot of ‘how to’ books. ‘How to grow your church’, ‘How to have a successful youth ministry’ etc. I don’t think they were the exact titles but you get the idea. I remember having a conversation with him once about the nature and organisation of church. He told me about his concern and disagreement with most churches at that time which were separating people into various ages, cultures and ‘tribes’ so that more quantitative growth would happen. I recall him lamenting that this was not what the church was all about. Well of course I knew better and only half listened to him while all the time thinking how old fashioned his view sounded. I argued back at him by pointing to the ‘proof’ and the ‘results’ right before our eyes, that this segregation was the main reason why most churches were growing and ours was not! I now look back on that conversation and actually realise how ahead of his time my pastor really was.