Thursday, March 02, 2006

DEB HIRSH female speaker at FORGE


Deb talked about the open set idea. A community gathered around Jesus, rather than coralled by doctrines and creeds.

In her talk she helps us to understand that many people in the past were drawn into a BELIEVE first, then that belief allowed them to BELONG to the church, and then they learned to BEHAVE. In some churches, the BELIEVING, must be followed by BEHAVING, before BELONGING.

She explained how in our current society it becomes more and more important to rethink this approach. We must be willing to allow people to BELONG first. It is in the midst of this BELONGING that they begin to understand the truths of Jesus, and then come to BELIEF, and through that BELIEF, the will begin to BEHAVE differently. She tells some remarkable stories about how this has happened and worked in her life.

Perhaps some of you can explain how you have seen this work, or not work in your experiences.

By the way, DEB is a woman, and I like her, and she is in FORGE leadership.


the rev


Daniel said...

For me it happened like this:
Believe first, then belong, then behave.

I remeber going to couples house for new christian classes after my salvation. They were in their mid 50's. The course was supposed to last for 4 weeks and happen on a Thursday night for two hours only.

I ended up going to that house for 26 weeks straight and staying there from 7pm until midnight as they taught me about Christ and christian living through there years of wisdom.

My language was bad. I wore a shirt with a collage of play boy images, I smoked. I was never judged. I was completely accepted and loved. I was even invited as a new christian councellor by this couple even before my behaviour was cleaned up.

Within those 26 weeks my life had done a 180 (except for the smoking, that stopped a year later). I say now that it is because of their acceptance of me that I am where I am today and I am still walking with God 5 years later even though seeing many other people fall away.

Rebecca said...

I belonged first (because I grew up in the church) and believed because I belonged (I saw smart people I admired following Christ, therefore thought it was at least worth considering). I'm not sure what 'behave' means...I tried to 'behave' in conservative charismatic churches, but the inauthenticity of doing so damaged my faith, pretty badly for a while. Now I just try to behave according to what I think Jesus has set as the ground rules...

I'm not sure the lines between 'believing', 'behaving' and 'belonging' are always so clear...the people that come to my church are usually attracted because they feel a sense of belonging that they haven't experienced elsewhere, and through that, they come to believe more firmly than they have before...but I think that all of us have some standards of behaviour - it's just that some communities are looser and more compassionate/tolerant than others...I dunno...

But yes - I totally agree with Deb - we need to start with belonging. We need to offer a place of welcome to all, regardless of their colour, creed, or anything else including their 'behaviour'.

john jensen said...

no the lines cannot be blurred, it has to happen everytime in very specific points!!!


thanks for the stories guys, very cool.

the rev

Anonymous said...

Its a profound yet simple concept articulated by Deb Hirsh. If churches placed acceptance and belonging first, I'm sure their numbers would increase. But does acceptance and belonging operate more effectively the smaller the congregation? One would hardly have the same sense of acceptance in a mega-church.

I know personally I would never walk into a standard (i.e. not mega) church because of a fear of embarrassment - what's an obvious outsider doing in a place like this.

Anyway, how do you know which churches have this belonging-first approach?

Anonymous said...

Once, a long time ago when Ken had got his first job in the public service in Canberra, and before he had given up on Christianity completely, he walked into a Baptist church (near Gowrie hostel where he was temporarily accomodated). There certainly was no sense of belonging, no acceptance. He could feel cool aloofness, the reserved formality. He never went back.

Daniel said...

I'll take a break on this blog for a while I think. Listening to all of the roar hatred directed to the mega-churches by some at signposts leaves me feeling a bit like I've been vomited on all over.

Accepting people as they are is not an easy concept to grasp. Your own past experience is a major factor in determining how you accept others.

People who had to work so hard for their parents love and affection often feel they have to work hard for Gods. And then they enter a church and receive the same doctrine. This will undoubtedly impact how they accept others.

But seeing where I came from personally, and how I was embraced by Christians has driven me to show others the same acceptance.

Anonymous said...

I've just found an old Gregorys Canberra street directory (1987 edition). My wife was going to toss it out.

The church was the baptist church in Condamine St, O'Connor. It's probably changed over the last 20 years.

john jensen said...


I don't know if you said you will hang out here, or will leave here for a while. I hope you stick around.

One thing you might not understand is I was ridiculed, called a cult, and attacked by these mega churches in the states. Many of the things I say and have said are based on my own reactions to this.

the rev

Anonymous said...

That sounds like an interesting story, Rev. Care to share any more?

john jensen said...

Not really, I have learned that people feel like anything different than what they are doing is an insult or accusation against them. Also if you ask me why I do things the way I do, I actually feel its more like the church I read about in scripture. So I increase the attack at that point.

In the end, I think that the way I am doing things is better. If I didn't I wouldn't do it this way.

I do believe that there are many very good people with great hearts trying as hard as they can to spread the gospel in mega churches. I do not want them to stop doing what they are doing. The fact that many of the people in these churches had a go at me, caused me much pain and anguish. I have learned to get beyond most of it, but I also feel free to defend myself against their attacks.

the rev

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a bit of bickering and bad-blood between the different Christian camps. You know, that could tempt me back into one of these churches just to ask some of these Christians face-to-face why they engage in this behaviour - just to see their reaction and laught at them. That could be fun - yes I know it's just puerile - I'll just snap out of it.

Daniel said...

Sorry Rev, my comment was not clear. I meant that I will take a break from signposts and hang out on this blog for a while.

I know where people are coming from with their comments. I myself am not a member of a "mega-church" but at one stage I was and I have similiar thoughts to many bloggers on sign-posts. But I have seen lives impacted in these churches and I see no benefit in some of the harsh and vile critisism that is directed to the pastors of these churches. We are all loved by God.

But anyway Rev, I heard you share one night when I visited Riverview and I was challenged by your testimony.

I left my large church (not riverview) after a few disagreements about church culture, particularly pertaining to small groups. I felt that the church that I was a member of was quite different from the one that I read about in scripture, the church that many of our brothers and sisters are still serving in around the world in "non-christian" nations (China, Indonesia, etc).

Garth said...

I actually read the Believe, Behave, Belong dogma a couple of years back in an article at . The idea stuck with me for it was no only what I found to be true but it was articulated fantastically. But I would also add that I have seen the formula work another way....don't stumble don't fall for if you don't behave you don't belong.