I’ve been thinking about the the church. Actually, I often think about the church – what it should look like, how it should grow, its purpose, its mission, its call from God. Ten years ago I noted a couple of still timely thoughts in my journal.
Marshall Shelly wrote in The Consumer Church that “Christian community is simply impossible apart from Christian truth.” It would seem that in just a few short years many have forgotten this truth and we’ve made coffee and comfortable foyers the gold standard for “community.” Now I like good coffee, and enjoy comfortable places to enjoy drinking it (in fact, I helped to build such a place in our church), and especially enjoy doing so with God’s people. But that really isn’t community in the fullest sense. It is enoyable, but it isn’t deep enough, and without a mutual commitment to truth it just won’t last.
Richard Halverson said (somewhere) that “in the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome where it became an institution. Next it moved to Europe where it became a culture. And finally, it moved to America where it became an enterprise.” It is easy to forget that we are a dynamic organism uniquely alive by the Holy Spirit, and not another franchise following the instructions of the latest successful church growth expert.