In thinking through church leadership, I’ve noticed that many church leaders / pastors can be suspicious of what we do at Northridge. Why is that? I think it is because we tend to be suspicious of what we aren’t familiar with. And I think those of us with traditional theology can forget that there is more freedom in methodology.
It makes sense that they are suspicious. Twenty years ago, I would have been suspicious of the way Northridge does church.
I’ve also discovered that when I can sit one-on-one with someone suspicious of us, the conversation usually goes well and they end up dropping much of their suspicion and get excited about what God is doing at Northridge. I have found there are some ideologies that we share – that help take away some fear and suspicions.
- The Bible is our unquestioned authority. I think sometimes they believe that “what works” is our authority.
- We aren’t afraid of being counter-cultural. I think sometimes they believe we are trying to “fit in” – no matter what. The truth is, we want to make sure we are counter-cultural in the right things.
- Discipleship is crucial. We just look at discipleship differently. It isn’t necessarily an official class but is “life-on-life” mentoring, through a Community Group, or an accountability relationship, And we push self-discipleship in a big way (Hebrews 5:13-14).
- We practice church discipline. I’m not sure why this surprises people, but it often does. Why wouldn’t we practice church discipline?
- Missions is very important. Our church is going to pursue missions differently than a traditional church (likely), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t very important to us.
- Meeting physical needs is not Gospel-ministry. Traditionalists fear the social gospel. I get it. That is fair. But we don’t want the pendulum to swing to the other side to where we are ignoring James 2:14-17.
- We don’t have “numbers” goals. Because we are growing, it is assumed that numbers mean everything to us. They don’t mean everything, but they certainly mean something. Depending on what you are counting – numbers mean nothing, something, or everything. To us, they mean something, but not everything.
I often remind myself that guys will come after me that “do church” very differently than I do. I hope that I can ask questions, be sure it is within a biblical framework – then be their loudest cheerleader.