Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Very Simple Question...

I have been struggling with how church is done. What's new about that?

In my desire to operate in Christ's Kingdom community (ya know, actually becoming a disciple-following Jesus into his work and will in the earth), I have had some offensive discussions within the church at large.

Everybody seems to have figured out individually different Christs that they follow.

The "teaching church" believes that dispensing information in a classroom setting is who Jesus is; the "worshiping church" thinks that contemporary songs and remaking hymns in a sheltered subculture is what Jesus was building; the "administrative church" thinks that moving money into programs to "minister" from a distance is Jesus' "Way;" and the "Business Model" church encounters Jesus as a CEO, his managers are the clergy, his supervisors are deacons, and his employees are the laity. (I know this is not thorough, but please let's not get sidetracked.)

The trouble being (I think) that there is only One Jesus... Right? I think that I have encountered him in the scriptures, and have seen lots of examples of what is important to him, as well as what isn't. (I am not talking about gifts at this time (different people serving in different ways), although they are important to the total church).

I am a church planter. I've started a church under, not the most ideal circumstances from a "Church Business" standpoint, and have been told such things as Still Waters is not a church, "[we] only do ministry." Also things like, "losers don't make for a healthy church."

As we started out, our mission was to follow Christ into his work in the world; connecting with the undesirables in our area in genuine friendship, and helping the more affluent community (church folk) into their lives and service. As Christ's disciples, we find him doing this throughout the gospels.

There is one thing that I am sure of; that Jesus befriended and identified with those who were struggling on the margins, and had little respect for the comfortable, affluent religious types who thought that they were better, more educated, clever and religiously right.

I've been told to "pastor" building a church. I sense that the clergy has no room for actually touching the undesirable personally and to the point of inconvenience. We have heard that we are helping the wrong people, and in the wrong way. Again, I've been told that this is not a church.

We have applied for a grant within our own fellowship of churches, beginning communication with them in October 2004, and still have had no answers to probably one of the most thorough applications that many professional grant writers have witnessed, let alone unanswered emails, and unanswered questions. Could it be that they fear that we will waist the funding on helping the wrong people? I don't know...

I would like some dialog to help me figure this out...

Beginning with this question: Is Jesus a pastor? And, did Jesus plant a church? Careful now...

Looking forward to hearing your answers.


Letter to the Mercury Op-ed: January 22, 2007

We Have a Chance to Save Countless Lives
Did you know that right now, Congress has an incredible opportunity to continue saving millions of lives in the world's poorest countries by fully funding the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty.

The last Congress left nine critical spending bills unfinished leaving the new Congress the difficult work of allocating our 2007 budget; a daunting task to be sure. At stake is $1 billion vital to continuing to provide clean water, education and life-saving medicines to people in Africa and the world's poorest countries. There are few places in the U.S. budget where dollars translate so directly into lives saved.

Without this funding, 350,000 people will not receive life-saving AIDS medicines, nearly 1 million anti-malaria bednets will not be distributed and 120,000 people will not receive treatment for tuberculosis.

As a member of Christ's Church, Still Waters churches, the clergy, the ONE Campaign, The Ministries at Main Street, and a member of the global community, I strongly encourage Congress to protect this funding and ensure our commitment as Americans, to continue the fight against extreme poverty and global HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

America's example and will to do good in the world, exercising moral assistance to those needing help, models our best to the world in the tradition of compassion and generosity.

Please write your Congressional Leaders asking them to continue this effort with your dollars as your representatives. Together, we can give the world's poorest people the tools they need to overcome extreme poverty, giving them the gift, and the chance for a hopeful future.

In my view, it is our moral imperative to act at a time such as this.

Kork Moyer, Pastor
Still Waters churches & worship center & The Ministries at MAIN Street

Desmond Tutu in the Washington Post

10:30 PM Jan 15, 2007
Last week, over 70,000 ONE members sent over 200,000 letters to Congress, urging our government to save nearly a billion dollars for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria programs.

Today, Archbishop Desmund Tutu, one of the most remarkable leaders of our time, asks Congress to fund the fight and "remind the world of the good that can be done in the name of the American people."

From Desmond Tutu's Op-Ed in today's Washington Post:

"The U.S. government has repeatedly promised to combat HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria: At the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000 and as a member of the Group of Eight the United States committed to the goal of universal access for HIV-AIDS prevention and treatment by 2010. However, the funding resolution Congress is considering would shortchange and potentially sabotage every American program to address these diseases, leaving innocent people in its wake...

"It is a sign of our breakdown as one human family. Worldwide, we have made stops and starts at healing this rift and keeping our promises to one another. But if Congress does not act to restore that $1 billion for global health, poverty alleviation and foreign aid, the rift will only grow wider and healing will be further beyond our reach...

"As we honor the life and vision of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. today, I hope and pray that Congress will choose the righteous path, the path that will save tens of thousands of lives and give countless children opportunities and hope they have never before imagined. I join the world in watching, and waiting for its decision."
Read the full piece here