Tuesday, December 11, 2007

JESUS, help us to do church right [whatever the heck that means].

So, I'm going to call Andy Stanley or one of those influential big church dudes and see if he'll take an idea of mine, sell thousands of books with it, make a killer sermon series out of it, and then pay me some flipping money. Here we go....

The main thing that 90% of modern, cool churches are trying to do [and generally with good intentions] is to birth "community" in their local body. In no way am I against this. I am quite often against how this takes shape and becomes either soccer-mom gossip session, spiritual feel-good hour, or one arrogant guy saying everything he knows about the Bible every week and always taking it out of context. "What does community look like?" might be a good question to interject here. But tis not my concern at the moment. Where I feel such a rub with all this is that many churches are attempting to impose a form of community on a group of people without that form having any substance. So, here's the phrase I'd like to see us work with:

Unforced community.

That's right, buddy. Those two words are going to make me millions. It is doubtful that James and the Jerusalem church broke everybody up into cell groups and each group did such and such a study that James and the boys set out for them. Again, I'm not opposed to these. But the NT church was a community and in community because they loved each other, they loved the Lord together, they actually loved their families, they worked together, they lived together, they were persecuted together, and on and on ad infinitum. How do you love people in such a way that they get more than a couple hours of your time? How do you love people so that you impart to them not only the gospel, but also your own soul [1 Thess 2.8]? Can we not do this because we have too many remote controls, fast food restaurants, psychologists, and television channels? Can we not have this kind of gospel community life because we are on this side of the automobile and the cell phone?

I think it's still possible.

This type of life as the Body will require far more humility than we can imagine and far more time and resources than the church or the culture has. We must lean into the Spirit of God and into His revealed word for us to see fruit along these corporate lines. I can't hear it enough
- He will build His church.

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