It’s part 2 of our conversation with Dr. Mark Baker. We are talking about becoming a centered-set church. What is that? Most churches are bounded or fuzzy, but its the churches that are centered that see the greatest transformation. How do we know that? Because that’s what we did!
The question is: are sinners welcome at your church? Yes, we call people to repentance, but when does that happen? Do you require them to behave before they belong? Believe? What’s the order? Do they have to look and sound like everybody else before they are accepted? What are the standards? Who is in and who is out? Is there room for a process? What happens when someone sins? What about the person who is in sin and just starting to come to church and wants to learn? And what about the person who is considered an insider but whose personal life is a complete mess? What do we do? What is more important: believing? behaving? belonging? Which should come first? And what does that matter?
Our guide in our journey today is Dr. Mark Baker. Mark is the J.B. Toews Chair Professor of Mission and Theology at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary and the author of Centered-Set Church: Discipleship and Community Without Judgmentalism (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2021)
Mark helps us to examine what he calls three different approaches to church. Borrowing from the missiologist Paul Hiebert, he helps us to see what is considered a “bounded set,” “fuzzy set,” and a “centered” set approach to church. This is a conversation about where you live in the everyday-its about how we judge and shame others, and what the best approach is to ensure flexibility with the process while honoring the purity of obedience. You can learn more at Centered-Set Church.
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