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Wednesday, December 14 2011

It seems like most models of birthing new congregations involve a lot of time with just a few people, who end up either staying in someone's house, duplicating their small group in other houses (who then stay in their houses) or creating an organized institution. One of the problems I see is that this eventually leads to a closed group.

Some people will argue that the institutional congregations usually find a neutral place that allows people to wander in off the street. But we all know that this is not a common event. Others will say that the houses are less threatening for people to come to, but that model seems to require people to be invited. How many Spokane house churches can I just walk into next week? And why haven't I heard about them before. I looked at all the sites I could find using multiple searches. Even if there a 100, the problem is that they feel even more exclusive than "church" buildings to me.

Another issue that I have struggled with is the question of creating a "missional institution." The term seems oxymoron. Yet that is what a HUGE number of pastors are struggling to do. And this whole process is in real danger of becoming a "works" teaching. "We have to go out there into the world, or attract people here so that we can serve them. Otherwise we are not obeying Jesus." This can seem so right, but are we missing something? Jesus gave us a new commandment, "Love one another as I have loved you," and a great commission, "Make disciples."

It seems that we should start by being a community of love. ("See how they love each other.") And we can't be a community of love if we are not a community. I believe that if we visibly, noticeably, out there in front of everyone, BE a community of love, people might actually want to be around us, and learn, and become disciples.

Posted by: Michelle AT 04:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, December 10 2011

It is not the pastor or the leadership or the elders.

If a group is headed by any of those, then Jesus Christ is not the head and it is not the church.
The church is
not disciples and a building and Jesus.
not disciples and liturgy and Jesus.
not disciples and anything or anyone other than Jesus.
The Church is Jesus and those who love and follow Jesus. WE are Christ’s body and Christ is our head. Nothing else is needed to be the church. Anything else is not the church. The Church is Christ and people who live in Him and for Him, and who point others to Him. We, the church, are the Christ point. We are the point in time and space where Christ and the world intersect. It is in Christ’s body that heaven and earth come together.
When followers of Jesus Christ gather, we gather to pray, rejoice, and commune with God and each other. It is a time for resting, refreshing, and refueling for the work and ministry God has called us to do. But there is nothing that we HAVE to do other than follow Jesus Christ. Anything we do other than following Him leads us away from Him. We are the church simply through following Him. We follow Jesus by teaching others as He did, by living as He lived, by serving as He served, by loving each other as He loves us.
We don’t need to be in charge or in control of the church or any part of it. Jesus is!
There doesn’t need to be a lot of us to be a church. Jesus told us, 20Whenever two or three of you come together in my name, I am there with you.” CEV
All of us, His disciples, have all been called, each to minister in a unique way. We are called to minister according to the skills and gifts God has given us and the occupation or life situation we find ourselves in. Ministry and discipleship is 24-7, 365 days a year (and 366 on leap years.) Some people think that the only "real" ministers are those who are "professional" ministers. In our culture, it is sometimes thought that the "best" clergy are the ones who get paid the most and have the largest congregations. Maybe the "best" ministers are those who serve God, even when it is very costly for them.
Most of us know that the church is not the building. But do we know it is not the people unless Jesus is their head? Do we know it is not the singing, or the preaching, or the ceremony, or the service, or the fellowship, or the evangelism, or not even the worship, unless Christ is the point of it all?
Christ Point! Christ period! Christ alone! Christ only!
Let us fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:18
Posted by: Michelle AT 01:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
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Christ Point
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