Vineyard Church | Weekly Update July 10th, 2024

adam greenwell billings churches billings vineyard church galatians paul sacrifice tribalism Jul 10, 2024

Canned food with no labels could become an interesting game of conviction. How hungry would you need to be to make a pact that whatever can you choose, you would eat to the bottom? No matter what you found, lima beans or kidney beans, Alpo or Spam, potted beef or vegetable medley, you would eat to the last drop of whatever juice it is packed in…

Ministry shares a flavor of this adventure. One of the standards ministry leaders need to hold is that if you open the can, you must be willing to eat what you find until it is gone. The reason for this is that people matter, and if we are willing to open the can with them we need to have resolve to stick with each tasty morsel until the can is empty… people matter too much to God, and ought to matter too much to us to be willing to pry open a can, see what is in it, and then decide we aren’t that hungry. Whether this is praying for deliverance, walking alongside someone as they escape affliction, or in writing a blog, if you start it you gotta finish it.

Every. Last. Drop.

Last week I opened a can with this weekly blog, and on Sunday I took up a spoon and started to slop the contents into my word hole. My taste buds are not in agreement as to what we are eating, but what an adventure it has been! You can find an archive of our blogs on the website, but to jump on the same page, the jist of the can I opened is that to follow Jesus we are called to sacrifice something. I presented tribalism and consumerism as examples of two things I think the Father is calling on the American Church to sacrifice on the altar of religion as we turn towards His will over our own.

This message is one that has guided much of the content I have presented over the last few years, but much of it has lacked the directness I feel I need to now bring. Thus, the can metaphor, time to open up and gobble, no matter what it tastes like or what it does to my comfort level.

The first few bites of this particular can will be to expand on this message of sacrifice, something I will be doing in the following weeks in blogs and sermons, but also a huge part of our Family Meeting tonight at 6:30 pm.

Today, we will gobble up my reference to tribalism and how it is acid on the fabric of unity in the church. A basic working definition of tribalism, or at least of the concept I want to call out, is the behavior and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one’s own tribe, social group, religion, or political beliefs. There are some very positive outcomes of tribalism as a social glue that keeps a community together, but the tribalism that our culture seems to be experiencing today is not one of loyalty around community support but based on shared offenses.

Tribalism focused on the greater good of people, about collective service, is a positive force that defends the weaker members and protects the sanctity of the nation or group. The best picture of this would be the imagery of the Body of Christ that Paul uses as he writes to the churches in Corinth and Rome. This body continues to add to its several parts, and the whole is served by the submission of the one to the good of the body.
Tribalism based on emotion, offense, or personal opinion can be destructive. This tribalism creates an “us versus them” mentality and creates barriers for protection and comfort. This tribalism allows the enemy to form in flesh and blood in direct contrast to the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount and Paul in Ephesians 6. Watching tribalism grow in our culture is as easy as watching how differently Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC report on the same basic story. Unfortunately, this evil side of tribalism has entered into the mainstream of cultural Christianity in America as some church leaders, social media influencers and commentators energize their followers and motivate them to act. Often, the action they call for is to exclude the offensive, which is an affront to the mission of Jesus.

Last week, the can opened with a recognition that to follow Jesus is to sacrifice our will for His will, our comfort for His purpose, and faith that as we engage in this daunting work, we can trust Him for our protection and provision. Tribalism that excludes cannot coexist with an invitational Gospel. No matter how uncomfortable this makes me (and depending on the day, a little to a lot) it's dinner time and all I have is this can…

Adam Greenwell
Pastor | Vineyard Church

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