Have you ever noticed that in the Bible Unity and Gifts are themes that go together many times? For example, you can see that in Ephesians 4:1-16 and in 1 Corinthians 12. Is it a coincidence?
I don't think so. The fact is that people with different gifts tend to push an agenda that has everything to do with their gift. A pastor will push the church to be a caring community, neglecting other areas. A evangelist will push it to be a missional one. And so on. And if we are not careful with that, we will sacrifice unity in the process, because people with different gifting will feel displaced (not to mention that the community will be seriously handicapped). Conflict will arise, churches will split, and new denominations will be born.
There is nothing wrong with emphasizing our area of ministry. But as members of a local and global community, we have to be sensitive to the fact that there is no single gift that is more important than the others. In love and humility, we need to recognize the advantages of the gifts other people have, and what is lacking in our own gifts. This way we will learn to respect every person no matter what their gift, maintain a spirit of unity in the body of Christ, and have well balanced communities.
There is a very popular concept in both modern and post-modern churches called "neutral place". This is a concept coming from the seeker-sensitive movement, and the idea is that you should have meetings in a public neutral place, because unbelievers will feel more comfortable to go there then to go to a more personal space, like someone's house
I think it is time for someone to say it. Neutral places are completely overrated. Looking back on my experience, neutral places were the second biggest simple community / house church killer I have ever seen, right after re-institutionalizing. More specifically, moving from a personal space to a "neutral" space is a church killer. It will destroy much of the personal touch in the community, and in the end, the community itself.
The real question is that we move to "neutral" places because we are trying to evangelize people before we create relationships with them. We want them to come to the "neutral" place, and then we may want to create a relationship with them. But that's a much harder thing to happen than the opposite.
So, why do we want to evangelize before creating relationships? For a number of different reasons. The most common is that we don't have time to create relationships because we are too busy "doing church" (will you have time to create relationships after?). another popular reason is that when you work full-time in ministry, you don't have non-christian friends to create relationships with. Or you are so christian that all your friends are christian. All of those are really lousy reasons.
Are this words too harsh? Is your experience different than mine?
O ser humano tem o fetiche das regras. Precisa de regras para tudo e mais alguma coisa. As últimas polémicas da ASAE, só vêm comprovar isso mesmo.
Podemos ver isso também na igreja dos tempos de hoje. Quando confrontado com a liberdade dada por Deus, o homem entrou em pânico, e começou a criar cada vez mais regras. E depois cada grupo de homens criou as suas próprias regras que entravam em conflicto com as regras dos outros, e deu-lhes um nome: católica, protestante, batista, pentecostal, adventista, ortodoxa, etc.
O resultado é a salganhada que temos hoje. Demasiadas instituições, com demasiados nomes, com demasiadas regras, que destruíram o essencial do cristianismo: o amor uns pelos outros, a unidade, a liberdade, a simplicidade.
É altura de jogarmos fora todas essas regras inventadas pelos homens.