August 28, 2007

Is Your "System" Working?

I am reading a book by Dallas Willard called The Divine Conspiracy. I read something today that really caught my eye, and although it may seem obvious, I bet we don't usually think about it this way.

"Your system is perfectly designed to yield the result you are getting."

Willard is dealing with the question of the gospel -- as presented in the Bible compared with the way in which many churches present the gospel. There seems to be some kind of disconnect between "faith in Jesus" and "real life." We teach that we must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. But what does that mean? That we know we are going to heaven when we die? What about life right now? Why doesn't a relationship with my Creator have any impact on the way I live my life here and now?

"Your system is perfectly designed to yield the result you are getting."

In Willard's book, he is referring specifically to the system of preaching the gospel in churches. There's a lot we could say about that. But I was struck by this comment in a much broader way. Am I happy with the outcomes of my life so far? Am I pleased with the way my family life works? Am I satisfied with my finances? The bottom line is I have a system set up that yields results. If I don't like the results, then I need to challenge, and probably change my system.

If you attend a church that hasn't baptized anyone in the last year, then no matter what your purpose statement says, your system is broken. Maybe you need to check your system? I know I do. There are a lot of results in my own life that could/should be different. And as much as I would like to blame it on my parents, our culture, or even my dog, the problem is my "system."

Do you have the guts to change your system? I dare you!


Gloria said...

I'm not sure how I entered in your blog :)! but wanted to say I've been doing a lot of observing past couple of years in what's happening to the church (from perspective of traditional vs. postmodern).

This posting caught my eye. I think the big misnomer is that we really can't change the things that are wrong with the church. There are a lot of ideas out there on how to change the church, but the only real and eternal and effective change is when the Lord regenerates hearts. I'm afraid the church is filled with unregenerated hearts that look like there is life, but the fruit of a real believer is not there. This applies to modern and postmodern. And whatever applications we are trying to administer (outside of humbling ourselves before Holy God) will be futile in the end.

What do you think?
(I'm a granny...)

Geoffrey Janes said...

Gloria -

Yes, I think you are absolutely right! Nothing we try in our own power will work (when it comes to church). It may seem successful for a time. But eventually it will be exposed for what it is.

I agree as well that the church is full of unregenerated hearts. I like to call them 'malnourished Christians.' Like babies who were not fed properly from birth, we have churches full of baby Christians who are not growing.

It's time to humble ourselves before the Holy God, and confess our sins, and allow Him to do a mighty work in His church!