My Church Post, Part I
It’s been almost a year since I was an imitational church member. Yes, another among the adjective-ridden church types, but this is of my own making, and you’ll figure out my meaning. It’s been a strange condition by the fact that we were members for 23 years, and served the congregation faithfully. Routine can be a comfortable thing, as it was in our case. Ours was an involvement stretching from being youth leaders to church elders to worship team director, with stops along the way for such jobs as furniture movers or to bus banquet tables. However, routines, just like the proverbial good things of which people speak, come to an end. Now, the past year has become something of an odyssey, involving the uncertainties of being without a permanent church and the discoveries we would not have known with one.
Church pundits in recent years have bandied about a number of adjectives, and among them “organic church” caught my interest. Books like “Pagan Christianity?“, “Revolution“, “Reimagining Church” and “The Pastor Has No Clothes” brought me to question preconceived notions I had about church. Throughout this discovery process I’ve never questioned the essentials of the Christian faith. God is the Father. Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life and the Father’s Son. The Gospel is still the Gospel. However, as my study of organic church progressed, my preconceived church concepts suffered, while arriving at some essentials of a church. In this regard it was helpful to consider the first century church. I’m sure they were unencumbered by sound systems with rotating lights or projectors, not to mention church buildings. How did they survive without parking lot attendants? Neither do I believe there was one man, with a title of pastor, who stood week after week, dispensing sermons to fellow believers who sat, watched and listened without engagingly but respectfully questioning because he possessed some academic credentials bestowed upon him by virtue of his correctly regurgitating study material provided to him by a theological institution. They had no New Testament because they were living it, and what they knew of the Old Testament had to be passed on from person to person because there was no iPad. (Ok, they may have had scribes, but getting a copy of the Old Testament then was about as likely as getting past the TSA at JFK with a GUN in one’s pocket.)
…to be continued in Part II