Friday, June 5, 2015

Deep or Wide vs. Deep and Wide

Discipleship.    Evangelism.

Depth.    Width.

"Our pastor is a fantastic teacher."    "Our pastor is more of an evangelist."

*It is better to be a mile deep and an inch wide than a mile wide and an inch deep*


Is anyone else tired of the constant tension between these two camps in the Church?

How did we get here?

1 Corinthians 12:4-31 says (italics mine):
[4] Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; [5] and there are varieties of service, 
but the same Lord; [6]and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who 
empowers them all in everyone. [7] To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the
common good. [8] For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of
wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,
[9] to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one
Spirit, [10] to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to
another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of
tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. [11] All these are empowered
by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

[12]For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. [13] For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
[14]For the body does not consist of one member but of many. [15] If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. [16] And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. [17] If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? [18] But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. [19] If all were a single member, where would the body be? [20] As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. [21]The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” [22] On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, [23] and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, [24] which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, [25] that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. [26] If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.  
[27]Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. [28] And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. [29] Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? [30] Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?  [31] But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
It seems Scripture is clear in putting forward the idea that we need different people with 
different skill sets in order to be healthy. So, why then do we insist on an either/or way  of thinking?
Some close friends of ours were recently let go from a ministry position. What was communicated to them 
(according to their side of the story, so author is admitting both his bias towards his friends and the one  side-edness of the communication) was that, while they were good at helping people go "deeper" (insert  discipleship), what the church needed was a way to be "broader" (insert evangelism/outreach) and bring in  more people. Is it wrong to want more people to come? No. Is it wrong to want more people to hear the Gospel? No. But 
I would say and I believe Scripture would agree that it is wrong to be forced out of a ministry position (where 
you were doing well) because you were doing what the Lord has gifted you to do for the Body. To let someone 
go who was effectively helping people grow in and deeply form their faith just to gain someone from the other 
end of the spectrum is not is foolish.
Those are Bible words and how the Bible describes our actions. They are not character judgments or personal 
It doesn't need to be either/or.
What should have happened is the church should have recognized the gift they had in people succeeding in their
gifting and come up with creative ways to bring new people into the ministry who offered a different skill 
set/gifting. It would have added to the depth and effectiveness of that church, made use of the Body, and 
created a renewed sense of appreciation and celebration instead of feelings of pain and incompetence. 
We must be honest about our strengths and our weaknesses. But we must also be affirmed for our strengths and 
compensated with support for our weaknesses. The divide is a tiresome one. 
You can be deep and wide.
Most often, depth leads to width much as erosion does in natural processes. Width, however, leads to more width
and often at the expense of effective depth.
But even with those realities, they can and should find ways to build on each other and bless each other.
What kind of church is your church? How can you help move it towards a healthy balance instead of a polarized
May we learn from Scripture not follow the trend of our culture.