This is part two in my reposting OLD thoughts about the church. Part one was posted yesterday (read it here).
People think of church in a lot of different terms. Most of the times, we fixate on one particular concept, and as a result have a less than full understanding or just plain mistaken understanding of what church is.
My contemplation preceding ReNew has led me to note at least four distinct ways we identify the church:
|What is Your View of the Church?|
This is often associated with place and time. When we were young, we were always taught that "church was not a place", but that teaching was confusing for me because it went something like this:
1) we dress up and act "reverent" when we come to church.
2) church is not a building, it is people
3) stop running in the church.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
Many churches identify themselves (even in their names) by associating with the churches that believe the same things as them. for many people, this identity is the most important. I recently has someone say to me in link-up, "we're looking for a good baptist church". what he meant was, "we want a church that believes what we do". this isn't necessarily bad, it's just another way we identify the church.
WHAT WE DO
A lot of churches wear labels based on their primary activities (usually Sunday).They are seeker, contemporary, blended, traditional, etc... I can hear the expression now, "we're a seeker church." in more recent years, this type of identification has grown beyond just Sunday and other lables have been developed (purpose driven, church OF small groups, simple church, yada-yada-yada).
WHO WE ARE
Here's a novel thought. the church isn't an organization at all. It cannot be defined by structures or systems. It is a fluid organism, always in flux because it is nothing more than the relationships holding a community of redeemed people together. It exists to the extent their connectedness allows, and it doesn't exist
where relationships don't exist. This one might need to be chewed on a bit, as there are some very attractive ideas here, yet they don't necessarily mesh with the way things are or how we might interpret Scripture.
so, when you think about church, how do you think about it?
- is it a building? (the big one on the highway)
- is it a time? (Sunday morning)
- is it a belief set? (Baptist; Reformed)
- is it an activity? (morning service)
- is it people? (Shawn McPherson, Keith Knapp, Sue Proctor)
But... What if none of these was a full reflection of the church. What if we had a better way of thinking about the church. What if we had new terms to use to better identify the biblical story of God's community of redeemed?
What might that look like?