Monday, August 03, 2015

Building Christian Communities

Many years ago, I read a book called “Building Christians Communities” by Stephen Clark. I think this is one of the most important books that I have read, and I have read quite a few. Stephen Clark was a leader in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

He begins his book by describing two sub-optimal pastoral approaches.

  1. Activities orientated
  2. Problem orientated.
The problem with the activities approach is that people develop fatigue with achieving a goal.

Concentrating on problems prevents the emergence of holistic solutions.

Stephen advocates a holistic approach that focuses on the goal of the gospel. He says,

The main goal of pastoral efforts in the church today is to build communities, which make it possible for a person to live a Christian life.
An environment is a stable social situation or a stable pattern of interaction between human beings. They vary in intensity, size, etc.
  • Beliefs attitudes and behaviours are formed to a great degree by the environment in which we live. A Christian needs a Christian environment.

  • This means that forming a Christian environment is more important than reforming Christian institutions.

  • When society as a whole does not accept Christianity, it is necessary to form communities in society to make Christian life possible.

Environmental factors are more fundamental than institutional actors in bring Christian growth.
  • Institutions are designed to complete a particular task.

  • They can influence behaviour, but not basic beliefs, attitudes and values without an environmental process.

  • Environments can change people without institutional help.

  • The early church was more environment than institution.

  • Parents are concerned about the environment of their children.

No comments: