The first time Chris and I committed to start a church, we thought long and hard about what we wanted this new church to be like. Both of us grew up in traditional churches. We both knew some version of various church meetings, committees, Sunday school classes and youth groups etc. We both knew that this is NOT what we wanted.
We also were both captured by the realization that when Jesus died and was raised again, He became the first born in a new family. We were called to share our lives as fellow partakers of the New Covenant. We were called to care for each other, support each other and help each other grow as followers of Jesus. This is what Chris and I really wanted – church as the people of God walking in this world together.
But, in practical terms, what should that look like? What did that mean for worship? Teaching? Outreach? Discipleship? For meeting space? We set out to explore what the New Testament said about being an authentic people, walking through life together. We discovered many things along the way; made many mistakes, built many lasting and deep friendships and saw many changed lives. We enjoyed church!
A lot of things have changed in the past 40 years. We live in a very different world, with very different needs and different temptations. The world has changed, church has changed, we have changed, but the quest to follow Jesus as an authentic people living in committed relationships still drives us. It still drives many believers. We still must be willing to explore what that looks like for us today and be willing to follow Him into the future.
I recently read an article about a church plant in Brooklyn, NY that is a wonderful model of exploring what it means to be a church. Here is the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-emily-m-d-scott/weve-seen-megachurch-but-_b_5474319.html and I encourage you to check it out. (The picture at the beginning of this article is the architect’s view of their new church space!)
Here is a short excerpt:
“Theologically, we’ve discovered that building big community happens on a small scale: 30 people around dinner tables, sharing a meal they’ve made together.
St. Lydia’s, the five-year-old church where I am the founding pastor, is a Dinner Church. This means that we gather each week to share what we call a “sacred meal:” a worship service that takes place around the table.”
I am not advocating that we abandon what God has given us, and become dinner churches. That would be a mistake. I am suggesting however, that we must continue to faithfully explore what church should look like today. After all, we still want to walk in this world as the people of God, loving Him, caring for each other and serving the world around us. This is what church should look like.
How has God been leading you? We’d love to walk that journey together.