Monday, August 11, 2014

Being the Church Instead of Doing Church

Christians who depart institutional Christianity usually have very good reasons for doing so. For many of these folks, the problem is that what they see in the life of the church doesn't correspond to what they see in scripture.

After leaving, there's a tendency to want to find a group of believers that have all their biblical ducks-in-a-row. For example, the group needs to gather in homes, have a plurality of elders, eat together frequently, include the children in almost everything, encourage everyone's active involvement, etc., etc.

These are all important things. However, there is also a subtle danger. Some Christians can become so obsessed in doing church the biblical way that they fail to just be the church. I've fallen into this trap in the past myself.

This really becomes a problem when discussions at church gatherings focus more on the way the church should gather/function than on the lives of the people there. This can quickly lead to simple church folks feeling really good about how their little group operates, but at the same time failing to truly edify one another.

I'm not trying to create some sort of false dichotomy. Church families can certainly meet according to biblical principles and edify one another. In fact, this is the best setting for edification to occur. We just need to make sure that when we come together it doesn't turn into some sort of "paralysis by analysis." In theory, a church body could meet exactly according to the New Testament model and still fail to grow spiritually.

As we come together, let's make sure that our purpose is actually edification. Discussion of church functioning is fine, but let's generally leave it in the background where it belongs.

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