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Should I Start a Grassroots Movement to Change My Church?

Kevin DeYoung:

At a recent conference the three of us on the panel (all pastors) were asked the question, “As a layperson, should I start a grassroots movement to change my church?” All three of us basically said, “No.” Following the conference I got a long and heated email from someone who was very upset with my answer. He thought I was guilty of clericalism and gave no place for the laity to know anything, do anything, or ever question the pastor. That was certainly not what I said, nor, so far as I can tell, what most people thought we were communicating. But his concerns got my blogging juices flowing. The initial question about forming a grassroots movement to change a local church is one I’ve gotten in one form or another several times in the past five years. So perhaps it would be helpful to spell out my answer in a little more detail.

Christ-Centered Reading, Preaching, and Teaching

Matt Capps:

Except for a period in my early twenties, I have been involved in the life of a local church for as long as I can remember. Because I was so involved in various ministries, I made it a priority to study the Bible in preparation so that I could be, in the words of Paul, a workman unashamed. Still, something wasn’t right. The spiritual growth and change I desired wasn’t happening on a notable or consistent basis. I remember doing my “quiet time” one afternoon in my teens and becoming exhaustingly discouraged. Sunday after Sunday I would walk out after the service on a spiritual high only to crash into the reality of my own brokenness within minutes of leaving the church building. I didn’t realize what was missing until later in life. While my salvation and early spiritual growth had come from the work of the Spirit in my heart and life, I began relying less on the Spirit and more on my flesh for my continued growth (Galatians 3:3). Like many believers have confessed to me over the years, I turned to Jesus for salvation, but trusted in myself for sanctification. Most of the teaching and material I was exposed to presented lists of Christian attitudes and actions, along with a call to do these things, and that’s it. I am not saying there is a problem with calling people to act in God honoring ways. Descriptive examples and prescriptive imperatives are all over the Bible.

Mike Leake:

“I feel like I am going to explode. I know that it is unhealthy to hold stuff in. So I just need to vent to someone. I don’t need advice, counsel, or anything—I just need to express all of my feelings.”

I’ve heard such statements numerous times. In fact I’ve heard something similar pouring from my own lips. Social media has given a new medium in which we can vent; namely Facebook. Just scroll down your news feed and within 15-20 posts you are likely to read some sort of complaining, whining, griping, or venting.

But is it biblical? Is it okay for us to vent to other people? Is it innocent for us to just get stuff off our chest via Facebook status updates?


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  • Anthony Gurley

    Just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate what you do with this blog. I started following your posts ( and several others) a few months ago, as a tool to aid my work with college-going Christian artists and athletes. I look forward to receiving your posts and using them to move me further down the road of promoting meaningful conversations between our Motvation Scholars and their mentors. Thank you! We will launch a blog from our ministry in the near future and some of your posts will show up from time to time (with proper credits). Others will find their way into FB posts and more direct communications between our office and our student/mentor connections. Thank you again! Anthony Gurley, Motvation Ministry