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We desperately need a fresh theology of us. Movements are about us.

The church is plagued by a theology of me. The individual has become the great end of God’s plan for mankind. We are told, “If you were the only person on earth, Jesus would have died for you,” and “God has a wonderful plan for your life.” This may be true, but it misses the grand plan. In fact, it misses the entire gospel. God’s plan was never for an individual – it was for a redeemed people. The entire story of scripture is about the relationship between God and his people – not one person.

 

Jesus did not die for me. He died for us. His plan since the beginning of time was for us. We need a new theology of us.

This changes everything. It forces us to re-think our soteriology, ecclesiology and leadership development. Some of it will offend our theology rooted in over a hundred years of individualism. Movements of the Gospel are not about me. They are about us. They are not about you. They are not about your brand or your non-profit. They are not about my organization. They are about us. The grand plan of God to redeem us.

As the Western model of church has spread around the world, it has shaped church into a “collective of individuals” rather than a “body of believers.” It has changed worship from a community function to a personal experience in the midst of a crowd. Worship used to be about us declaring His worth. It has devolved into a private emotional experience designed to build up my own self-worth. It used to be the sacrifice of a community. It has become a consumer-driven music industry.

A theology of us will change our disciple making. Making disciples used to be about helping people grow in Christ. It has become about delivering good sermons that tickle itchy ears. We have shifted from a focus on helping people mature to a focus on good oration. Our measure of success has become compliments on the sermon or likes on Facebook. We need a theology of us that places the focus back on the growth of the people – the formation of healthy faith communities that together impact society.

Together. Community. Us.

A theology of us will re-shape how we lead. Jesus modelled team. He built team, functioned in team and empowered a team. We value rock stars. Our leaders function alone. They direct teams, but they are not part of teams. They use teams, but they do not build teams. They own teams but they do not release teams. Even Jesus did not build alone. Team is not a group of co-workers who meet occasionally to plan and compare results. Team is task-inspired but not task-driven. Team is about us.

Army. Bride. Body.

I am aware that I am already treading on dangerous ground, so I will not presume to understand all the implications of what I am saying. My intention here is not to present a new theological paradigm in its entirety. It is simply to prod, challenge and spark a conversation.

To question.

How do we move from a theology of me to a theology of us?

Comments  

0 #7 Learn More 2017-08-28 13:29
Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog! We
are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.
Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!
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0 #6 James 2017-05-21 03:42
Hi David,

Very good article and I agree with the general point you are making, but Jesus died first and foremost for the glory of God, not for us. My point may seem like we are splitting hairs but I think the starting point for God's sacrifice is important so that the God is central and not mankind.
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+1 #5 A W Roy 2017-03-08 16:41
Amen and Amen!

Your question: How do we build or re-build a Theology of Us?

We are studying a wide array of thinking on Kingdom Theology (which must be at the root of a Theology of US). We are also writing on Ephesians to uncover the profound imagery and affirmation of "In Him, you all are being built together into A dwelling place for God by the Spirit."
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0 #4 Michelle 2017-03-08 04:15
Well written. A message the church needs to hear.
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0 #3 John King 2017-03-07 14:41
David, thanks for taking on this matter--I, too, have been troubled by the fruit of our wrong-headed individualism. Some of it happens quite easily as we read the pronoun "you" as though it speaks to us singularly, when it is actually plural.

Likely we have all heard the oft-used statement, "If I were the only person, Jesus would have still gone to the cross." No doubt, God loves every person. But God does not love me because our my inherent worth; his love gives us infinite worth. It all starts with him, thus grace is our bedrock!
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0 #2 Tishen 2017-03-07 10:19
HI David
Good topic as this is where my concerns are drawn towards, the Devil has come into the Church and skewed our beliefs, as a member of a congregation and not a leader; most believers, believe that being a Christian and believing in Christ would “not” only get us to Heaven but most importantly make every dream we have here on earth a reality if we find favour in the eyes of the Lord because we compare ourselves to each other and not to Jesus. So yes Christianity being used for personal gain is a huge issue, totally in contrary to what Jesus preached “deny yourselves and follow me” and he “promised persecution for His sake without a doubt” because the Kingdom of Heaven is ours and not this world.
I found in my personal life that if I read the Word as a testimony to God and stay in texted the message is simple regarding this, and whenever I have confusion about anything in the Word I always look toward Jesus first and the 4 Gospels.
We are saved by faith in Jesus and in saying so we have to place faith in every commandment Jesus gave us because He is the same Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow; especially the bit about the Great Commission and Luke 10 about the Harvest being ready and discipleship. There has to be a union between knowledge and obedience without fear separating the two.
I believe that we are all Priests with one Spirit and our soul purposed being called to Christ is to bring people to the Lord training them into the 5 fold ministries to further equip others alike because we have forgotten all about the non-believers and kept Jesus to ourselves, and this cycle should not continue any further especially for our legacy to come. If our current way of Christianity was correct then the end times would be here already because we would have fulfilled the purpose of the Cross so what is the delay really?
The Gospel is a simple thing after reading and placing faith in Romans 6; to be opened once more to God as Adam and Eve where, we need to be Holy and free from sin to come into communion with a Holy God!! And the simplicity of it all is a "True Repentance to receive the new pure Heart from God", "the sinful body will die with Jesus when we go under water and raise out a new body pure body in Christ so that we can now fellowship with a Holy God”, and most importantly the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit to keep us Holy so we can endure in continued fellowship with God.” It is possible to find perfect union between grace and the law and the Holy Spirit will train us to find this union to stay pure.
Jesus commanded Love the Lord your God and Your neighbour then go out preach the Gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead, discipling the entire nation to equip them to teach others alike. Jesus does not mention a personal relationship being key to gain access into Heaven, we are called to work field.

I believe there are lots of people out there feeling exactly the same as you and need this new teaching,
Bless you David I am sure this will explode and open up a lot of eyes towards the truth.

Blessings
Tishen
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0 #1 Gibo Gerber 2017-03-07 08:26
Good stuff! Challenging.
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