Speaking the same Language
Speaking the same Language
I have a confession. I love the church. I love reading about church, thinking about church, and dreaming about the church. It consumes me most of the time. As I was thinking about church I began to realize that when people speak about "church", we are often speaking about different things. I recently had a conversation with a pastor in which I realized that we were talking about two different things. He was talking about overseeing buildings, and I was talking about people and purposes. Not that building maintenance is not important, but that it often eclipses the "main thing" which is Jesus Christ moving in and through people who are completed devoted to him.
Biblically speaking, the church represents communities of disciples of Jesus Christ who fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ to bless/redeem/heal our broken world. It is not buildings, traditions, or a collection of creeds and doctrines. It is this special community of disciples that extends the love of God and the grace of God into a world that so desparately needs them. So, when I speak of the church, I am speaking of devout followers of Jesus who are sold out to His calling to be witnesses to the His presence, power, and passion.
There are a couple other definitions and terms that are useful to know so that we can speak clearly. I tend to use these terms frequently
1. Missional Churches: Churches that are defined by their calling to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ as defined by the Biblical record. They expect to experience the reality of God's presence, gather in mission centered communities, and demonstrate His love wherever possible.
2. Viral Faith: Faith in Jesus Christ that spreads in an epidemic pattern: From person to person using methods are simple, subtle, and often small. It represents an intentional strategy of "infecting" others in the communities where they naturally frequent over and against having pre-christian people come to us.
3. The Kingdom of God: The central message in Jesus' proclammation of the good news. He literally ushered in the reign and rule of God through his life, death, and resurrection. It is the experience of the Kingdom of God in which man was originally created to experience, and that which Jesus came to restore.
4. Post-Modern Mindset: It is a cultural mindset that is prevalent in United States and western Europe and has been progressively increasing since the 1950's. It is characterized by:
a. Relative truth over absolute truth (Truth cannot be experienced or known)
b. Experience over knowledge (I want to experience to know)
c. Belonging over believing (Inclusiveness by relationship over beliefs)
These definitions will play a key role in our understanding of who we are and what God is calling us to do.
Perhaps you have other definitions that we need to clarify. If so, leave a comment so we can dream together.
May God bless,