The idea that the God of this world. The creator of mountains and oceans and pine trees and all the freaky critters that David Attenborough narrates in those amazing documentaries. The inventor of lightening and wind and fire. The poet that strung together hearts with emotion and passion. The idea that the eternal invisible maker of ALL, would box His people into a three hour weekly session in a boring room, with boring people, doing the same things every week over and over, with no seeable fruit, no improvement in peoples lives, no city-wide revival…
is LAUGHABLE. RIDICULOUS. INSANE!!!
And yet a lot of us are convinced that that is what he wants. When, we have recorded in the book of Acts, super apostles, going wherever God led them to go, to set up crazy congregations of people, in different sizes, different make ups, different areas, different focuses… We still think we need to carbon copy it. When we have the 20’s-35 year olds leaving church in droves, we blame THEM for THEIR problems, before ever looking at the shape of what they are walking away from.
church (little c – the institution) is a crock, if it thinks that WE are for the church. We are not for church. Just like we are not for the sabbath. The church is there for US.
The church is there to proclaim, praise and yield to the loving embrace of our saviour and brother JESUS CHRIST.
If the church ISN’T doing that, it needs to change. It needs to change anyway because people change. Cultures change, schedules change. Change is not a bad thing. Change is an awesome thing, especially if we change as we need to, not just as a survival marketing mechanism. When we change for LOVE and HARMONY as opposed to staying “right”.
Why we think tribal African villages need the same shape of church as rich urban Canberra….?
Why we think the structure of a congregation needs to be a carbon copy in buddhist controlled Cambodia, as it was in Roman controlled Asia minor 2000 years ago….?
Jesus is awesome! Jesus is love, Jesus is accepting, Jesus is good at getting us to be better versions of ourselves by opening our eyes to the love he has for us. And i have seen a lot more growth, a lot more fun, a lot more adventure with Jesus, playing in bands, traveling the world, eating food and hanging out with skaters than I have seen in the fruit of many congregations I have been apart of.
But, because we are so obsessed with the ONE shape of church, when people are disillusioned by the one shape, they leave and where can they go? They can’t go anywhere because they have been trained for so long that any other shape of church isn’t church at all.
So basically heres what I am saying:
1. – Those who are still comfy in traditional church shapes. GOOD FOR YOU. Keep going at it, keep giving God glory, keep growing, keep loving – but you aren’t in the ONLY shape of church. Don’t box people in. Don’t label people out of your family just because the shape of their faith is different, it could be a lot more radical than yours, and you will never know if you continue asking boring 2D questions about ‘church’. Try dropping your internal labels and your sinful convictions about your own congregation. Yes, your church is amazing and full of beautiful and lovely people, but there is 7 billion other people on the planet and most of them are lovely. And there are 2 billion Christians on the planet and a lot of them love Jesus as much or more than you.
2. – Those who have left traditional church shapes. GOOD FOR YOU. You’ve taken a step out of something that may or may not be dying soon. And you’ve stepped into an unknown that, if harnessed, will change the face of this planet through tangible love and conviction. But don’t give up on truth and love. Don’t give up on your belief that the God-man Jesus Christ walked this earth and died to take away the power of death. You are now in an amazingly unique position to love people where they are at with no labeling or boxing or ‘denominational party lines’. You get to hear the adventure Holy Spirit wants to take you on and live lives of bold craziness. (Not that those in the church can’t do this, a lot of them just don’t)
Christ said to tell everyone about him. And although the gospel is being spread by a faithful few in the frontiers, the old cities are losing their faith because a powerless God is a God who ceases to be relevant. God needs representatives of his creative, loving, powerful character.
God needs and wants YOU!