Reforming the Local Church
Reforming your local church is no easy task. Let me begin by stating that the substance of what follows is advice based on personal experience in three pastorates, as well as my interaction with pastors from across the country who have come to embrace Reformation theology and attempted to incorporate that theology into the life of their respective churches.
First Things First
Two preliminary observations are in order. First, it must be understood that there is no guarantee that what has worked in one place will achieve the same results elsewhere. What follows is an overview of what I and others have done and should not be viewed as a sure-fire formula. If anything, I pray that this summary will be used as a guideline for pastors as they think through the comprehensive challenges of reforming a local church.
Second, reforming a church ordinarily begins with the pastor. This is only right because it is through the preaching and teaching of this biblically ordained office that the doctrinal direction is established. If the pastor and elders are not convinced that Reformational theology is the proper theological framework, not much progress will be made. Any effort on the part of the laity (no matter how noble the intention) to teach contrary to the doctrine of the pastor and elders is disruptive to church order. Once laypeople have become convinced of Reformational theology, however, they can be instrumental in bringing these truths to bear in the life of their local church if: (1) they have access to the pastor and elders; (2) they have the confidence and support of the pastor and elders; and (3) they proceed with permission and caution. I will begin with advice for pastors and conclude with a reflection for lay reformers.
The Ground on Which You Stand
Pastors, know your context. There is a huge difference between reforming an existing church that stands within the Reformed tradition but has drifted from its standards, and bringing Reformational theology into a new context where it has never been intentionally or formally held. Continue reading this article by Ken Jones at ModernReformation…→