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Jan '05

Doing Church Differently

Many have undertaken to “teach” or discuss how The Body of Christ in the new millennium is going to have to be different than the church has been in the past, at least this is the case with the church in America. I do not even begin to purport to think that I have any edge on great thinkers or writers like Sweet, McLaren, or McManus, but I would like to offer my take on what the church in the next generation is going to have to do in order to impact the world. Something it is not doing very well now.

So I would start by saying that the first thing we do is put EVERYTHING on the table for debate. We do nothing just because “that’s the way it’s always been done.” There are some things churches do because they have a biblical mandate…But the VAST majority of how we structure our churches and what we do in them is tradition. So that is where you start, guided by some principals:

Relationship first and foremost. Our relationship with God and others…These are not two separate things but interconnected.
cultural Relevance – We must reach our culture from the context of where people live everyday…Just like Paul did with the Epicureans….This unknown god that you worship, This is who I am presenting to you.

Genuineness - People being allowed to be who they are and not having to “play church.” This gets messy, but our goal is Genuine people, Genuinely seeking God, in a Genuine community.
Community – Real community…The kind of koinonia that the new testament talks about..Not a commune but real community…The kind of community that others are drawn to even before they find out about Christ. The kind of community where the people have “all things in common and share one another’s needs.” How do you do this without being a commune or a cult? Good question, I don?t know. But I know it starts with people that are seeking to be real and involved with others, not self centered.

Service - For too long the church has done “outreach” I think we need to stop doing outreach and start doing “out-loving” or “out-service.” Loving and blessing a community (in this case Wallingford)asking ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in return…Not even asking them to come to our church. That will come in time but not until we meet people where they are and “earn the right” to be heard in their lives….Without love (this means not only we have it but they perceive it) I am but a resounding gong.

Evangelism - Evangelism has to stop being something we do and become who we are. I believe it is the job of the church to not setup evangelistic events but create a culture where evangelism is what we are…People becoming the church; that is what it’s all about. Evangelism must ALWAYS be in the context of relationship and the church needs to design systems and equip people to do just that…Build relationships. Evangelism needs to be at our heart, but not our motive…Does that make sense? Our motives are twofold: Jesus Christ, and the people he came to save. Those are our motives (well, they should be).

In the coming days I hope to break each of these down and discuss it in detail. Again I do not do this to “bring forth some new revelation,” but to pr0cess it myself.

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