David Fitch’s The Great Giveaway is a great book. The last page is a mini manifesto that is a capstone for the whole book. I wanted to share it and place it in the cloud to remember:
“I imagine our congregations becoming smaller, not bigger, yet teeming with the life of his body. And I hope that there are more of them, so many of them in fact, that they become the alternative to the Starbucks of our day. I hope our churches become know for servanthood in the neighborhoods and warm hospitality tha tinvites strangers into our homes. I pray that the home of every evangelical person becomes an incubator of evangelism, inviting strangers to the gospel out fo their lostness and into the love and grace of life in our Lord Jesus Christ.
I imagine real fellowship in our congregations, the kind that shares joys and suferings and potluck meals. I pray our leaders take on the form of humble servants who sit, listen, and suffer with real people through many years of leading them through this life in Jesus Christ. I hope we leave behind the CEO models of leadership.
I look for our worship services to become liturgical places that form our people into faithful participants in the life of God. May we renew the sense of God’s mystery, beauty, and transcendence in our worship services through the rehearsal of his great work in Jesus Christ.
In the process, may many postmodern wanderers be drawn into this life by his majestic wonder and the compelling story of the forgiveness and new life made possible in the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope our congregations look more diverse both economically and racially. Dare I imagine that each member’s bank accounts becomes submitted to teh King and to each other through some symbolic act as we gather around the Table of our Lord. I long for the day we become model communiites for a new politics that spreads God’s redeeming justice to the poor and the racially divided.
I hope we see small groups that renew the monastic practices of confession, repentance, reading Scripture, adn prayer for our day. And most of all, may our churches become communities that nurture and care for children in the way we conduct catechesis communally, adopt the ‘unplanned’ children, and invite all children into everyday life with God. To me this all sounds like a truly amazing way of life.
Is this a pipe dream? I certainly hope not. For I believe this is what we must be, know, and do as Christians if we are to survive the postmodern malaise overtaking us in the urban and suburban contexts of American life. We must recover the truly amazing way of life given to us as a people by God through his redemption in Jesus Christ. The only way we can resist the totalizing forces of late capitalism and its derivatives is by recovering being the church.
Is this not possible? I point us all to the smattering of emergent churches that have arisen in the past ten years and the churches Robert Webber refers to in his book The Younger Evangelicals. And I hope this book gives ope and direction to seminarians, pastors of small churches, and all those people who have tired evangelicalism’s incessant marketing and mega-sizing. May we start gatherings of people that practice the practices of being a body of Christ. As difficult as it might be, let us join together and find our way back to the practices of being the people of God under the reign of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For he truly is the hope of the world. (229-230)