If You Ask the Wrong Question…

…you’ll probably get the wrong answer.

I’m in the middle of Ed Stetzer and David Putman‘s Breaking the Missional Code.

I was talking to my buddy, Gary Lamb, about the book Thursday night. Gary made a couple of interesting comments that I thought were right on track vis-a-vis the book. Gary said, rightly, that the book really is a lot common sense stuff, stuff that we all ought to know already. He also commented that every pastor ought to read the book, but the ones that need it the most probably won’t be inclined to read it.

Right there in the middle of the common sense stuff, right in the middle of the stuff we ought to know already, right there in Chapter 4, “The Missional Church Shift,” Ed and David throw out a challenge to all of us who think our “preferences” are the main thing…

Scripture teaches that we are to ‘consider others better than yourselves’ (Phil. 2:3). This includes the truth that our preferences should never become more important than what our church needs to be and do missionally. For that matter, the church’s focus should not be the preferences of other church members either. A truly biblical church will ask, ‘What will it take to transform this community by the power of the gospel?’ not ‘How many hymns do we have to sing to make everybody happy?’ (p. 51)

That question hit me right between the eyes for some reason! Gary has said more than once – and he’s right – that church planting is the extreme sport of ministry. But there may be nothing more dangerous in ministry than trying to transform a church that seems to be old before its time, a church that needs a turnaround. We’re probably getting the answers to the questions we’re asking. And we probably need to start asking some better questions.

The question for me – in the current church I serve, and in fact, in the one I left to come here – has changed. And it should have changed long ago. The question is not…

How do we grow our church?

The question has to be Ed and David’s question…

What will it take to transform this community by the power of the gospel?

Commons sense stuff? Yep. But we have to choose. And the choice starts with the premises, the presuppositions, the questions.

What will it take to transform this community by the power of the gospel?