Thursday, June 12, 2014

So, You Want to Be a Church?

1.    Get together with the other believers in the area in which you live.  This takes care of problems of ecumenicity and ethnicity.

Location, location, location is the mantra of real estate agents and baseball pitchers.  It should become our mantra as church as well.  Your local community and your workplace are the two main locations of ministry. 

2.    Commit to know your neighbors and to work with them for the good of your community.

 This should not need to be said, yet unfortunately it does. 

3.    Pray regularly for neighbors by name and need.

Prayer is the primary means by which we keep holding our neighbors in God’s care.

4.    Use as little structure as you can, and then a little less.

Structure is the appropriate form life takes in its environment.  Allow the life of your community to develop the structure it needs – but no more – and remain adaptable and mobile enough to change as necessary.

5.    Develop a rhythm or rule of life that keeps you together in the living of life and serving God in the living of life.

Our way of life ought to bind us together and sisters and brothers, sisters and brothers serving Jesus Christ in all of life. 

6.    Be a birdbath, not a birdcage.

Become centered the journey toward the living and life-giving Christ at the center of all reality (birdbath) not on the boundaries and figuring out who’s in and who’s out.

7.    Pay special attention to the children in your area.

How we care for our children is perhaps the surest measure of our obedience to Christ.

8.    Eschew buildings and stuff that tie your church to a particular place in your area.

Frank Lloyd Wright said “We build our buildings, then our buildings build us.”  But the building of the church uses “living stones” (1 Pet.2) not brick and mortar.  Human scale, human needs, and capacity to move with God are the marks of the “church building” that should continue “building and re-building” us as God’s people.

9.    Live glocally. 

Our lives take shape within the large story of God’s plan and purpose for his creation – the “glo” as in “global.”  Those marks that characterize faithfulness to that large story are the same marks we are to exhibit in our “cal” (for “local”) in ways appropriate to the issues and dynamics of our location.

10.Focus less on our responsibility to God (we’ve had plenty of that!) and more on the gift of response-ability we have in Christ through the Spirit.

Christ crucified takes care of our sins and irresponsibility, Christ resurrected gives us the response-ability to live in creative, and faithful ways.  Indeed, Christ’s resurrection makes possible our living a cross-shaped life that engages redemptively with a broken and fractured world.

So, you want to be a church?  These brief suggestions seem to me excellent starting points for a church that seeks to follow Christ in our day.  What do you think?

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