Thursday, June 23, 2005

Church.



I have been planning a post on church for a long time and could not find words that expressed my message. I'd like to first refer you to a post written by Ashley at http://biblechick4him.blogspot.com/2005/06/what-is-church.html#comments.
I'd like to focus on this topic through a method I don't suggest be used to make a sound conclusion often. I'd like to figure this out backwards, so to speak. Let us shape an image of what we think and would like church to be and then test it with scripture. Think for yourself, for a moment, what ideal church would be. What's it basic mission in the world, who is part of it, what is its nature? I'll now express what I believe church is called to do scripturally. Church should be drastically different from our every day conversations as we sometimes go to the extreme to say. Not to down play our small talk, it is a very good thing, but the church should have at least two sub missions within the basic goal of mending, shaping, healing this world out of love for them and a passionate hope in Jesus.

First, an inward mission: this should focused on the fellowship of the church, community. The members of the church should be wholely concerned with their church family. wholely meaning every broken piece every problem, every good circumsatnce, everything. That does not mean gosipping or assuming things about people and sharing it. It does not mean allowing someone's problems alienate them. If anything someones problems should have a powerful magnetic force drawing them to the healing power of a relationship with people who care. If someone is acting strange and closed off the church should respond, taking up the responsebility of love. The mission here is acceptance. The world That knows only exile should be gloriously introduced to the message of love and open acceptance. they should be introduced to a God and a church that loves them exactally how they are.

The second, an outward mission: Likely to seem more abstract, there is a broad statement to be made about the outward mission of the Church; The church is to; in the words of N.T. Wright "shaping our world in the power of the spirit..." "implement his [Jesus] achievement" of breaking into history and breaking the bonds of evil powers. That means doing away with all that does not belong here in this new season of history, in this redeemed world. We, the church, as it says in the song, are "Jesus to the world" we are the "light of the world." We must "take up our cross" grieve and symathize with the pain of the world wherever it exsists. We must, now this is important, be engaged in bringing this world into harmony, once again, with God. We have responsebility to reconcile the world with God. Our heart has to be, on the road at least to being as big as God's, doing everything in love.

If people who seek God feel like they don't belong in church there has to be something very wrong. I'd like to see the church become a place of acceptance and hope for people who have, at least, alot of trouble finding it.

It is not even resonable to speculate this model without it being built upon a foundation of love for God. Worship must be a central aspect of this mission of shaping the world.

My heart breakes for people that don't find the same Jesus I know when they go to church and I am angry at the churches that attack the world as an enemy instead of having compassion resulting in healing. Why is it so hard to "do church" at most churches in America? I feel so often that I am in the audience for a while and then I leave the same way I'd leave a movie or a concert. Church is as Ashley said "church is so much more than a building we go to on Sunday mornings and one other night during the week. I believe the church is every where." It's presence should resound in the world, its healing should spread like the antidote for every problem in the world because it is the presence of God because of the Holy spirit.

11 comments:

Monk-in-Training said...

Wes,
Sounds like you are talking about living in an intentional, practicing community where lines between "church" and "life" are erased, and we live how we ought. I like your thoughts.

Deus est causa causarum et ens entiutn
He is the beginning and Being of beings

Ashley said...

This is a great post Wes. You are so intelligent! I think that this is something all clergy members everywhere need to read. I don't think it is so much that they choose not to do these things as much as they have never been exposed to the concept. I think that our culture has long forgotten these concepts and they need to be re-instilled into our minds. Great post!!!

Anonymous said...

You Idiot!!! You have no clue what you are talking about! If you ever had the chance to get a real education, maybe you would be worth paying attention to, but you are not! Forgive me for sounding rude, but get a life man, wake up and realize the truth about this world! What is the church anyway? I don't think you have an understanding of what you are talking about. Maybe if you could see the ignorance by which you live you would be able to say something quasi-intelligent! Well, hope you have a great day...all my love.

MicahGirl said...

Good thoughts, Wes. Keep pushing the envelope and don't settle for anything else but the Kingdom of God.

Thanks for your encouraging comment about visiting CA. So far its not even as hot as I'd feared...

Flip said...

Good post Wes.

Danny said...

This is the first post that I've gone through in a while that I've actually printed out and "torn apart." First of all, to the anonyomous speaker, I think we'd respond to you if you would actually let us know who you are and why you said the things you said.

I would like to first say that I really enjoyed your post. It was very thought provoking. I really like the overall concepts behind it. The problem that I face for myself is how to implement this in everyday life.

Let me begin by asking what you mean by the "church" needing to be "drastically different from our everyday conversations." What did you mean here?

You also stated that we should love people exactly where they are. I agree with this but I also believe the question can become more difficult. Are we talking about Christians or non-Christians? If a "Christian" is living together with a person of the opposite sex unmarried, do we still love them "as they are?" Do we follow the steps outlined in the Bible that might eventually lead to explusion from the local body?

I also really liked the idea of bringing the world into "harmony" with God. I think that an inharmonious world has long left this world in a spiritual drought that has not yet been overcome. My question is how do we do this in our everyday lives? Let's say, for instance, how do I do this while working at In-N-Out? (I can think of a few ways I might passively live for Christ but nothing that would begin to change or bring something into harmony wih God).

Beyond that I agree wholeheartedly and breathe a loud "AMEN" to everything you said. I just hope that God will help me to begin bringing these types of things into my everyday life.

WES ELLIS said...

Danny,

You're concerns are mine aswell. Somehow I can see that many churches don't allow these concepts to drive their structure yet I agree that they are relatively abstract.

The everyday conversations we have at church rarely reach deeply enough for the type of healing we need.

I believe that relationships are above all a completion of human life, a healing process. How can w structure a church to reach this level? that is very subjective. finding a practical application in a traditional sence would be quite a challenge in universal language. I think if we pause in prayer and meditation over our individual church lives we could probably see where we can fulfill this mission.

The broader outward mission would require an obtained healthy level of the inward before being heavily focused on.

Ashley said...

Danny,

It seems as though Wes responded to all the questions of your post, but I just wanted to add one thought about your question of the un-married couple. I think that you love them where they are and out of love you confront them regarding the issue. Just a thought. Thanks a bunch! See ya soon!

Danny said...

Yeah, I'm beginning to believe more and more that relationships are at the center of a church. It seems to me as of late that smaller churches can do better for this as the relationships can be deeper and wider. More accountability and love can take place between the parties. Just a random thought.

I was just talking to an old associate pastor about a month ago about how to teach Sunday school. While I was there I learned about his new structure of a church. They meet in houses around Santa Maria in small groups. What do you think of that model for church?

Ashley said...

It sounds a lot like SCU (South County United) the church that Mike DeVries and Troy Murphy started. I know when I went a dew times what they did was meet in houses in their "community groups" throughout the week and then on Saturday night they all got together for worship and a message from the pastor. Everyone I know that goes wouldn't have it any other way. I think it is great!!

WES ELLIS said...

I don't think the specific model is what's important. Are they accomplishing the mission of the church? The answer to this question is what I'm concerned about. the easir it is for love and trust and acceptance and everything Christ is about to spring out from it the better i9t is. Personally I like the house Church idea, you realy grow to depend on one another in an environment like that, it's a beautiful thing.