This is the last (for now) part in a series of posts. I’m taking the long way around describing what I find to be a more missiologically sound church.
Whenever we talk about our theology of church, we usually look back to the “first church” that we read about in the book of Acts. Some read what they’re doing into the account (from a modern church lens). Others follow the example of the early believers quite literally. Certainly we can all be thankful and learn from our spiritual heritage. But why stop at the Jerusalem church? As we think through what it means to be the church, why not consider the church that Jesus planted?
- The scriptures mainly feature the men in the group (they were the ones he first called), but we know there were others, including women and young people in the larger group. Maybe initially only the Twelve met the qualifications for church leadership.
- Ministry was teaching, meeting needs, challenging the religious, and throwing parties for unbelieving friends. They were known by their love.
- Were a region-wide social network.
- Were sent as missionaries and disciple makers. They saw themselves as planters of the church (which is, perhaps different from being church planters), intersecting with various oikos’ and declaring the kingdom.
My point here is not to advocate for a roaming gypsy commune-style church, or even to be critical of church as we know it. I just wonder why we don’t consider Jesus a church planter, when he clearly saw Himself as one. I wonder why we focus on church at the local (or multi-site) level when Jesus almost always talked about it in terms of the Kingdom.
This “Mom-and-Pop Church” series of posts is my attempt to cast a vision for an expression of church that is sustainable, relational, and biblical. I believe that despite the megachurch’s efficiency and momentum, the trend is fundamentally flawed and limited by its own culture and pragmatism. I continue to challenge leaders to think like missionaries in all that they do, in order that we might participate fully in the building of God’s Kingdom.