Hugh Halter on the Church

Hugh HalterThis week I have been at our denominational Assembly.  Our speaker this year has been Hugh Halter.  I have enjoyed what he has had to say and I thought I would comment on what I found helpful.

Halter suggests that what the church should be doing is communion, community and mission.  Communion is what most people think of as church.  Communion is worship, preaching, prayer, Bible study and all of the other things that we have traditionally thought of as church.  However, Halter suggests that should only take up a third of our time and resources.   We need to also invest in community.  Community is about just being together, developing relationships and throwing parties.  Mission is about finding out what the needs are around us and meeting them.  Mission is not just for the elite who “feel led” to do these things but is rather integral to the Christian faith.  In Hugh Halter’s church, you are not welcome if you are not prepared to go on mission.  To be honest, this is a lot easier for Halter’s church because he started from scratch without any existing traditions or expectations.  Still, even as a pastor of a couple of traditional churches that have been around well over a hundred years, I can see the importance of putting more emphasis on community and mission.

Something else that I have enjoyed about Hugh Halter’s teaching his his distinction between a disciple and an apprentice.  A disciple is someone who has learned information and is able to pass on some (usually not all) of that information to someone else.  An apprentice is someone who learns not just information but experiences what the teacher does, performs the activity and is qualified not just to know but to do.  It could be argued that what Halter calls an apprentice is what the Bible really means by disciple.  But his point is well taken that we have watered down what it means to be a disciple.

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