never go to church again

never go to church again

by dwight friesen

 

I am diligently working to destroy the er
roneous notion of “going to Church.” 

Christ never called us to “go” to anything.  Christ’s invitation to follow

Him has always been correctly understood to be an invitation to a life of following.  And the church is meant to be God’s new community of followers on earth. 

 

We cannot go to church any more than a parent can “Go to Parenting.”  Once a person becomes a mother or a father their entire life is forever and irrevocably altered.  Though “Mom” and “Dad” are titles, those terms describe a life focus for the bearer of the title.  To be a Mom is to be a person of action.  A woman can not become a mother and continue her life exactly as it was before.  In fact if a parent were to continue with life as usual that person would be abusive, negligent, absent, or dead.  When a couple has a child their priorities change, the way they use their time is altered, it changes the way they look at life.  Parenting is not something a person attends (like a movie) and then return to their life, instead parenting forever changes the person.

 

When a person encounters Christ and the grace he extends, God adopts that person into his family.  We call that family the Church.  To be part of the church is to receive a new set of lenses to see the world through.  Church is not an event to attend.  Church is a lifestyle.  Church is living life as a person in communion with God, and in community with like-minded people.  Its clear in the Bible that God has always wanted church to be more of a verb than a noun.  We church when we our lives are marked by action. 

 

Our community is in the process of transitioning our “church” gathering to our Community Groups.  So that a person has truly been to church if they have participated in the life of their small community.  Quest has often said that we never wanted to be defined by our “Expression Service” so we are going to great lengths to create little house churches pastured by teams of qualified, gifted, leaders. 

 

So we’ve been wrestling with what it means to truly be the church.  As I look at the Bible, the following appear to be core to what needs to mark the people of God.  And when these things are taking place we are living God’s dream.  We’re churching.

 

·         People Intentionally Share Life Together – A spiritual community where life’s resources are joined together, people are expected and are equipped to be vulnerable and accountable with one another and the community, and the needs of those inside and outside the community are met; love in action.  (Acts – 4:32-34, 2:42-47)

·         Worship is Expressed and Experienced – God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) is central and God’s worth is lifted high and worshipped.  A community bringing people into the meeting of heaven and earth and calls the believer to live life for the reality that awaits. (Romans 12:1-2, Rev.4:5-11)

·         Ministry Happens – Ministry is a natural out pouring and result of the gathering of Christ-followers and non-followers. (Acts 5:12-15, 2 Cor. 5:18-20)

·         God’s Word is Applied – The Biblical story is told and taught and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is lived out in the community. (Acts 2:42, 2 Tim 3:16)

·         Sacraments are Shared – The historical celebration and collective participation in Communion and Baptism. (Mt. 26:26-30, Eph. 4:3-6)

·         People Regularly Gather Together – The joining together in collective experience is necessary for a community to be a church. (Acts 5)

·         People are Outfitted for Ministry – “Lay” people are the “ministers” who function as leaders and are empowered to do ministry. (1 Pet. 4:5,9)

·         Non-believers Come to Faith – The church is the primary place where people come to faith and begin to live as followers of Christ. (Acts 5:14)

·         Power of the Gospel is Displayed – People’s lives are transformed and society is changed. (1 Cor 6:9-11)

 

When these things mark a community of Christ-followers, they are the church.  Don’t judge a church by their youth ministry, their building, their nursery, their budget nor their stained glass.  God’s invitation to his new community is so much greater.  Commit with me to focus on allowing these things to mark us. 

 

… It’s an ideal   its God’s dream for us. 

 

May it be so.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

One comment
Leave a comment »

  1. NOpe, cannot "go to church" in fact, going TO church is what was established in the first gathering that fits the general description of what we call a church today, a building with walls where anyone can come visit and feel justified for a week.
    ONe historian said "For the first time in the history of the church, people who were not the church could go TO church" about Constantine”s church.

    BUt have you thought that the structure that we use with an out of hand attitude is not really the structure that the church was supposed to use at all?

    THe BIble seems to say that elders were appointed in each city.
    One church seems to be in a city.
    All believers are part of one huge church that contains every believer in Christ (his bride)
    Each city has a church of believers within it.
    Twelve elders were appointed to oversee this church.
    One elder was a chief elder…meaning that he was the oldest.
    The elders would oversee the church, which meant reading the scriptures (torah), teaching, healing, moderating the gatherings, arranging the gatherings, feeding the believers, caring for the widows and children, making sure that all beleivers were cared for.
    Deacons were appointed to take up the slack.
    Deacons were servants, they served.
    Preachers preached salvation to the lost. This means that they were on the streets, in the buildings, and generally anywhere they were not killed.
    Pastors were just another name for elders, it means shepherds.
    Apostles were men who had been trained, tested and were setting up churches and offering advice and instruction to the elders that were over the church in a city.
    Prophets, Tongues, Healers, Teachers, and others supported this.

    NO ONE WAS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYONE ELSE. THe positions were appointed positions and were to be respected as were the men that filled the positions. They had authority over the church under them, but not as someone who deserves the position, but as someone who is fufilling a needed function and has been found to be worthy of fufilling that function.

    So, everyone is equal, everyone is the same, some hold positions over others, so this would mean that they are held accountable for their actions while in these positions by God himself. Not a pleasant thought if he messes up.

    So tell me, where did it get all messed up and one man take over everything, fire the elders, hire a singer, build a building and surround himself with a few hundred followers?

    2 Cor 11:5
    2 cor 12/11

    The truth is in the Bible, just look with the eyes of a believer.