Churching Peoples – A Renewed Perspective

January 31, 2009 at 7:12 pm (Biblei-Octopi) (, , , , , )

A good friend, or spiritually should we say brother, peeked my interest in Mars Hill and pastor Mark Driscoll’s work (particularly in the arena of Christian sexuality – I encourage you to investigate). I’ve added the churches blog The Resurgence to my bloglines and recently found this posting:

Most church-goers conceive of church as a building. On Sunday mornings they get up, get dressed, and “go to church.” However, this is not how the early Christians conceived of church. They did not go to church—they were the church. Church is a community, not a building or a meeting. Church is all week, not just on weekends. Church literally means a “public assembly of people.” It has to do with people gathering, not with program-participating. (Jonathan Dodson)

This posting struck me, as I have often been of the mindset that the ministry of the church is the reason we arise on Sunday mornings and struggle to get our family out the door. I’ve also been blessed with the deep benefits of Christian relationships that have challenged and encouraged me. Church, as the Bible (Acts 2 in particular) describes it, is not just a polished message that we dress up for nor is it a social gathering for like-minded people. In these extremes, the church takes on 2 basic forms:

  1. Going to church only to be ministered to by the message and/or the music, in this focus the people can easily become unnecessary and often your “edification” is predicated on whether you felt the music or were touched by the sermon for that day. If the church has this perspective then the ministries/programs, the tools of ministry, can become more important than real connections or actual spiritual growth
  2. Going to church as a social gathering. This doesn’t just affect teenagers, there are plenty of adults that get fancied up for their spiritual parade while building up the body and being spiritually fed are a distant second in their priorities for the day. I’ve been around leaders who believe that getting more people in the door is the main focus of their efforts. Their theory is that as long as they are coming eventually they will reap something of benefit.

Acts 2 shows us people who were committed to people with a clear purpose of learning and living the teachings of the disciples (agents of Christ). Of vital importance is the understanding that both elements must exist in unison in order for the Biblical picture of the church to play out. In a separate post on The Resurgence, author Tim Chester summarizes this concept by stating:

The content of our ministry is the gospel. It’s a word: gospel means good news. So being gospel-centered means being word-centered. And it’s a word to be proclaimed: gospel means good news. So being gospel-centered means being mission-centered. That’s the content of ministry. The context is always the Christian community. Ministry is not an event, still less a performance. It takes place in and through the shared life of the Christian community. So whether it’s evangelism or social involvement or children’s work or apologetics or pastoral care or training, these two principles shape what we do: gospel-centered and community-centered.

Chester’s post further elaborates on the concept of fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19) to be more of, “As you are GO-ing,” as opposed to the static command to GO-for-a-time. When you understand the content of your ministry (the gospel of Christ) and the medium through which this content is to be communicated to the world (the church) the natural application for the individual is to always be about living the truth in all aspects of life. Chester does well to summarize it this way:

Here’s another way of thinking about it. One of the catchphrases we use to capture our vision is “ordinary life with gospel intentionality” or “ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality.” In other words, what we do is ordinary life together: household chores, trips to the movies, meals, neighborhood volunteering. But running through all these activities is a commitment to speaking and living the gospel. We pastor one another at the kitchen sink. We evangelize by talking about Jesus over a meal.

I believe that Christ made things very simple and clear, His commands are far from easy, but He made them simple. I found these posts from The Resurgence to be refreshingly simple and applaud the application of these principles. Let Christ prepare His bride.


The two posts referenced can be found here:

Dodson’s post – Gospel Centered Community

Chester’s post – Ordinary Lives With Gospel Intentionality

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