The Power of Longevity

I was young, full of energy and impatient, and I was starting a church.  A leader I respect sensed my frustration and after listening to me moan about how things weren’t going according to schedule, he said words I will never forget: “We always overestimate what we can do in the short-term, and underestimate what we can do in the long-term.”

Those words speak volumes to me about the power of longevity.

I am now just a few weeks into my new call as a pastor in Santa Rosa.  And I am increasingly convinced that to do what God is calling the church to be and become will take years because it involves shifting from a program-based culture to a disciple-making culture where people gather in communities that practice fellowship, discipleship and mission.

There’s a lot more I’ll say about this shift in future post.  But for now, I’d just like to open the door for conversation.

Even if it takes patience, focus and time, do you think we need to find ways of being the church beyond Sunday?

Let the conversation begin….

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About chris breuninger

I love life, my family, and Jesus. I enjoy live music, rigorous exercise, thoughtful movies, and strong coffee. I study scripture, wine, and people. I get frustrated with narrow minds, Christian stereotypes, and gardening. My vocation is pastor, but I’m hesitant to admit that, and I’m happy when people are surprised by that.
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13 Responses to The Power of Longevity

  1. Douglas Richardson says:

    Yes, we do! Quite honestly, this is one of the things that attracted me most to Redwood in terms of its openness to “reinvent” this way of “being” the church in terms of an intentional missional mindset.

  2. Joan says:

    What is important is for a church to grow spiritually rather than simply growing in numbers. When opportunities are presented to help us deepen our relationship with God, rather than just “doing church”, hearts will be touched and lives will be changed.

    • Joan says:

      P.S. I guess I didn’t fully answer the question! Yes, I think that we need to find ways of being church beyond Sunday morning. Authentic worship, fellowship, study, prayer…all will lead to growing spiritually which will create disciples who disciple!

  3. Patrick says:

    Agreed that we should transition; I’m hopeful that we can focus the unbelievable institutional enthusiasm for events to supporting our collective spiritual growth and that of our community. The thing about programs is that success can be measured in number of participants. Discipleship, fellowship and mission is much messier and harder to measure in the short term. It reminds me of a great book called The Vine and the Trellis that came our a couple years ago. It’s a model for building servant leaders over time. I have a few pastor friends looking seriously at it.

  4. Patrick Rutten says:

    Chris – On point and target. I think many, including myself, were waiting for the program roll out, but then I read, “The Hole In Our Gospel.” I get it now, and I see where you’d like to take RCC. Best quote from the book, ““A church that lives within its four walls is no church at all” (pg. 180).

    • Patrick, the quote you reference reminds me of Emil Brunner’s stament that “the church exists by mission, just as fire exists by burning.” It’s not that the church has a mission, so much as the church is, by nature, missional, and that a church that is not, is not a church.

  5. Thank you, chuc. And pray for the boys as they play in paradise, looking for, as they say, “Panama babes.”

  6. Cathi says:

    Yes, the path you’re bringing us to look for is one of the elements of RCC that helped me know it was home. The first church community where the teachings on Sunday, and the community building in Alpha and other ministries opened my heart to knowing that in order to really follow Christ, there needed to be some outward action on my part.
    As opposed to my previous vision of answering God’s call by sitting in a monastery spending my days in prayer, either in work or in contemplation.

    • Cathi, I’m encouraged by your story of how Redwood has helped you find a church home where your faith has become more alive. Thank you for sharing some of your story!

  7. Patty Williams says:

    Chris, I think you are right and you are wrong. (More right than wrong, though, by a fairly large margin.) RCC has been program-based for so long that people have either been involved or heard about it and I would hate to see that cut back. On the other hand, I was at Sunday’s session and feel you are absolutely on target to bring RCC back to life. We all want to be Christ’s hands and feet, and ministry has so many faces. I find myself surrounded with Christian friends, and that’s a good thing, but you challenged us a few weeks ago to remember to reach out to non-Christians as well. Some respond well to programs, so it would be good to keep going with that, especially as we continue to transition. But mission, discipleship, and fellowship? Bring it on! We are more than ready, willing, and able.

  8. Karen Titoni says:

    It would be awesome to get closer with more of my church family. My question is, where will we meet as a larger group when our building was never designed with that purpose in mind? Does someone have a plan to alter some of our space?

  9. Dennis Tussey says:

    To answer yes, seems so obvious, but we are creatures who prefer clear-cut, rather than messy (thank you Patrick) so “patience will have to have its perfect work.” I believe there are many who are enthusiastic about this direction Chris and look forward to walking down this path with you.

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