The church is you?

The is a very creative (ok with a cheesy American accent and tone) description of the church.  But there is one fundamental, huge mistake in this presentation.  Can you spot it?

The church is not YOU (single) – it is US (plural) together, being the people of God together on mission.  The westernized model of church where a collection of individuals, who often do not really know each other, come together to each individually grow and be encouraged in his or her realationship with God is flawed.  And often our structures and programmes cater to this individual outlook on life.

Church in the Bible is always a communal concept, with you there is no church – it is always US.  Our churches need to reflect this dynamic more in our thinking, speaking, structures, programmes.  To be the church there must be a deep, significant sharing together of our lives, our mission and our relationship with Our Father.

Disclaimer: this is not what they mean to say – but look at the pictures – this is what they are unwittingly conveying.

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~ by John on February 13, 2009.

4 Responses to “The church is you?”

  1. I agree entirely. But, just as any Body of Christ is not the foot or eye or nose – it is the entirety of the members – THE Body of Christ is the entirety of all the churches that make it up. Especially in the US, and yes we are cheesy sometimes, the same radical individualism extends to the churches. Each thinks they are right and the others are wrong. They fail to recognize that they may be an ear or a hand on the larger Body – a body that is made up of conservative and liberal, pentecostal and mainline, charismatic and “frozen chosen”. Each performs a function of the Body as a whole, and the Body is diminished when one part is cut off.

    I rather doubt that we’d see eye to eye on theology but, my brother in Christ, I pray that you keep up the good work – your health is directly related to my health, and visa versa. We are parts of the same Body – I just hope that I am one of the hands or feet that keeps doing mission – as opposed to just being a pimple on the, well, part that is usually covered up.

    Blessings, brother, and may God continue to empower the work of you and yours,

    Andy

  2. Actually it is both, it is YOU (singly) and US (plural) together. If we are not individual doing, living out, being, living as the church and doing all of those things in our daily life, most will not do it collectively when we come together. The it only happens when we are in a building called the church is how we got in this programed centered mentality in the first place. The church is something we go to, not are, and it has no barring on how I live my daily life. That church is a one day a week thing I go and do mentality is what has made the church impotent, so week.

    If you read the biographies of great Christians like Mother Teresa, George Muller, D. L Moody and many others. You will find they had the mindset that YOU/They(singly) where the church.

    King David had the I am (YOU) the army (church) of God Attitude, the army of Israel had the US are the army (church) of God Attitude. I’ll take a church of Davids (YOU’s) over one full of US’s any day. In a church of US’s its always someone else’s job. In a church of YOU’s, it’s everyones job. The army of US just sit and did nothing, the army of ONE, YOU, David defeated the enemy.

  3. Andy, this is a great comment thanks. How often are we guilty of thinking that we are the only ones with any sense of truth…

    One thought though is that we do have to attempt draw the line somewhere, not as to who in the body we are allowed to exclude, but as to who is actually in the body. Now as we do not have the full knowledge of God I suggest we do we are not quick to declare who is in and who is out, and that we do this hestitantly and humbling – leaving room and hope to be wrong. So there is a type of liberal (denial of the uniqueness of Christ say) and charismatic (right out there on the far side of the prosperity gospel, exploiting the poor and helpless fringe) who I would hesitate to agree are even in the body.

  4. Dennis thanks for your comments, I think in many ways we are actually coming from the same viewpoint.

    I am not though advocating a do-nothing gather in a church building kind of attitude (in fact if you read around the blog here you might find that I am not even sure I am totally in favour of church buildings, an ongoing debate in my mind) anymore than you are advocating a bunch of singular individuals who just go out and do their own thing irrespective of the wider church body.

    If I hear you right you think the major cause of the churches individualism is that we are not living out the gospel in our individual lives. I would agree with you that this is a problem.

    But I think the problem is not that we are not good individual Christians on mission. I think the problem is that we mostly view church as a building, a programme or an institutional grouping that helps to support me on my mission.

    Church I would contend is an identity that we live out as the people of God, not in a cushy little holy huddle, but a community of God’s people on mission out in the world. What my non-Christian friends need is not to have me trying to live my life and “preach” the gospel to them whenever I can.

    What they firstly need/want to see is how we as a community live out the gospel. How the good news actually changes the quality not of my individual life only (that kind feels like a form of religious self-actualizaion or Oprah style feel good life) but of our life as a community. They want to see that the good news actually is good news lived out. Relationships are better, deeper, more grace-filled and loving, that we truely do care for the lost, lonely, poor, etc. Now that looks like good news, tell me about it…

    And that in that context we not only tell them the good news but our lives together produce a sign and a foretaste of the promised kingdom

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