2005-08-03

what is church?

Some things we've been thinking about as a church and personally:

We all understand that something isn't right about what the average church in America is doing, so what isn't right and why is it that way", and also we are thinking about things like "according to the Bible, what is the church supposed to be?". In America, the church has traditionally closed itself off from the culture. It stopped understanding the culture, and so it became afraid of it. And rather than attempt to understand it, the church retreats inside itself and stays there, with the doors open, and says "come in here and be like us". And so, what people on the outside tend to see is some kind of club which meets inside a large building, and which forces you to look a certain way, act a certain way, talk about certain things - and that is neither appealing nor relevant to the culture as it is now. And so we looked at the nature of God - and God is a SENDING God. God has the perfect community in the Trinity - perfect relationship, love, trust, companionship. But He goes out from that community to touch people who don't know what that community is like. First of all, he sent Jesus from that community to die for us, to show us the way to regain a relationship with God. As Jesus was leaving earth, He said He was going and that He would send the Holy Spirit to give us the strength to carry on His work. And He said "As the Father sent me, so I send you". He called us a priesthood, and what is the purpose of a priest? To make a connection between God and people. We are to carry on Jesus' mission of going into the world to point the way to God. So, we want to be the kind of church which builds a strong community amongst ourselves, for sure. But we also want to be a church which as individuals goes out from that community into the places where we live and work and live a life which points people to God.

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