Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Touching Base! Part 198

Botox Church 2013, PART 2
Are You Healthy and Smart?

(You can find a recording of this sermon here.)

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

As a group, start by discussing the difference between a smart organization and a healthy organization. In his book The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni draws the contrasts with the following two lists.

Smart - strategy, marketing, finance, technology
Healthy - minimal politics, minimal confusion, high morale, high productivity, low turnover

Which category do you most identify with and why?

“The vast majority of organizations today have more than enough intelligence, expertise, and knowledge to be successful. What they lack is organizational health.” Patrick Lencioni, The Advantage.

My guess is that there are some of you who are exhausted because your work, church, or team, context is unhealthy. It might be smart, but not healthy. Seems to me that this is a growing problem in the workplace and, at times, in the church.

Big Idea: Organizational health must be guarded, led and championed.

Text: 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

Let’s look at three answers to the question, how does one guard, lead and champion organizational health?
Paul demonstrates some great answers. Remember Paul is addressing a very cosmopolitan church, deeply influenced and shaped by the surrounding culture. Last week we did a quick overview of this church that demonstrated how this church was having trouble being in the world, but not of it.

1. Paul calls them to a higher level - what could be and should be v.10,11

Note the words that describe the context Paul is speaking into.

Divisions - This word is used in the Gospels to depict a tear in a garment (Mark 2:21; Matt. 9:16).
Quarrels - The ancient Greeks used this word in their literature to mean battle strife or rivalry, and both political and domestic strife.

Note: what he is appealing for them to do?

The result is that they would be perfectly united in mind and thought. The word perfect means to readjust, restore. In light of the word division, it could mean to stitch up that torn garment. It’s sad to think that the church was like a torn garment.

Thus far in our study, how would you sum up their condition? What would you liken Paul to? (I see him as a cheerleader)

Note that their condition is one that they have normalized. Divisions and quarrels have become part of their reality. Paul is stepping in and addressing an issue that seems to be going unaddressed.

Don’t you find that the nature of division/organizational sickness is that it can be left to linger, it is the bump under the rug that we trip over every so often, it is the hot potato no one wants to touch?

Discuss the following: Organizations/churches don’t fall into organizational health. They fall into organizational sickness, they are led into organizational health. This requires tough talks, face-to-face conversations, speaking the truth, determined dialogue.

Have you ever seen someone do this well?

2. Paul unpacks the problem v11,12

I don’t have space to write here what I said on Sat/Sunday, thus you may need to do some homework to figure out why certain people followed Paul versus Apollos etc.

One observation- It is so easy to make the church about a personality rather than Christ. Agree?

Man centered and competitively driven is what is unfolding. However the Church is to be Christ centered and Spirit driven.

Where have you seen this happen? What is the fall out? Imagine rival groups within a church.

Botox church is when we inject into the purity of the message of the church a big name, personality that robs Christ of the glory that He alone is worthy of.

Unresolved division/organizational sickness always distracts from the primary message of the church, it always distorts, obscures and diminishes Christ from being central.

3. Paul points to and models the solution not the problem. v13-17


First seen in his argument technique – “reductio ad absurdum” - reducing an opponent’s position to its natural but absurd conclusion. Note v.13a. How would you answer the question? Paul is saying that what they are saying and doing is in complete contradiction to the head, Christ!

Ever seen absurd behavior in the church that completely goes against the very character or teaching of Christ? It is amazing how it can be tolerated.

Secondly, he steps aside. First he shows them that he does not have the credentials that Christ has, v.13b. Secondly he did not baptize many of them. Note the humorous, almost absent-minded way Paul recalls who he baptized. Because baptism was so important, often the person who did the baptizing was idolized. Paul, for this reason, steps aside in baptizing people so that Christ will be glorified, not himself. You gotta love a leader whose desire it is to lead but not rob Christ of the glory. You gotta love a leader who is part of the solution not the problem!

What are practical things leaders can do to “step aside” so that Christ is honored in the church?

Here are some questions as we wrap up:
Is God calling you to be a Paul and call people to what could be and should be?

Is God calling you to name the problem, call it what it is? This takes courage! If you are a leader at this church - we need you to be like a Paul - guarding, championing, leading on this front. God is grieved when division or other issues are left to simmer and thus compromise the culture.

Are you modeling the solution or are you as much a part of the problem as everyone else? Would Paul say to you “Your behavior is absurd, it goes against everything Christ your Savoir and Lord represents.”

Do you need His restorative measures in your life? Living in an unhealthy work, church team culture can suck the life right out of you.


If interested in joining or starting a small group contact bethelcommunitygroups@gmail.com

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