Yesterday, while dreaming and journaling about 2012, and stumbled upon some passionate feelings about the Christian church. This is hardly an original thought, but since it grabbed a hold of me so deeply, here it is:
I am way more compelled by a church OF the people
than a church FOR the people.
This is not to say that one is right and the other is wrong, but I’m becoming increasingly captured by the idea of the priesthood of all believers. Church as a movement rather than an institution. A church created by the people rather than consumed by the people.
A few examples…
In a church TO the people, Worship means: Come hear our most gifted artists provide a worship experience that will inspire and bless you. When it’s done, you’ll want to give them a round of applause, thank God, and be glad you attended.
In a church OF the people, Worship becomes: Prayerful, intentional space that empowers the people to co-create a worship experience – both as individuals and as a body, both at home and when together. The church helps people connect with God and each other, and then gets out of the way.
In a church TO the people, Evangelism means: Bring your friend to church to hear the pastor (who they will never meet) explain to them the truth. It is exporting evangelism to the expert, and reducing the sweeping Story of God to disembodied information.
In a church OF the people, Evangelism becomes: Training up disciples and launching them out to serve the world and share their story…and helping foster a community so alive and beautiful that people can’t wait to join.
In a church TO the people, Mission means: Give your money to the church so it can build a ministry to the poor. You write a check and they’ll take it from there.
But a church OF the people declares: “No one knows the poor in your town better than you. Let us help you serve them. And if you don’t know the poor in your town, following Jesus means that you’ll need to make some changes. Please let us help you humbly engage and learn from and serve the poor in your town.”
Obviously, these are exaggerated examples for clarity. Most churches I’ve been a part of are both, but tend to lean one way or the other. And it’s my personal hope that in this next year, every faith community will inch a bit more in the Church OF the People direction – developing and unleashing the supernatural potential of every woman, man, and kid.
And this year I commit to humbly and constructively use any opportunity I’m given to help and get swept up in this Movement. What an honor and responsibility it is to be (like EVERY one of us) the potential hands and feet of God!
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Eph 4:11-13)