Gibbs, Ch. 8 “Developing Ministry Structures to Win Them Back”

August 17, 2008

I’ll be the first to say that both “structure” and “win” immediately rub me the wrong way.  I think it was a great move to change the title of this book from “Winning them Back.”  I guarantee the title of this chapter alone is enough to shut down a lot of conversations with people who are in a different place “on the journey” than we-the-non-nominal-Christians-taking-this-course.  I have met so many people here at Fuller who have been burned, broken, and abused by the church to the point that attending a “church service” is no longer within their realm of experience.  If these people are nominal, they have earned the right.  This is part of the love-Jesus-hate-church phenomenon Dan Kimball speaks to.  How do we bridge the gap, so to speak, with people whose hearts are for God but who live and act out of a place of hurt?  How do we foster healing for people who certainly are not going to “come” to any sort of “program,” no matter how they are seeking?  Gibbs asserts that a shift must take place in our ministry paradigm toward reaching out instead of drawing in (242).  What does that look like in practice?  What does it look like for the South?  How do we stop designing programs and start building relationships without structuring them like programs?

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