Friday, 13 June 2014

We don't go to church we are the church!


Recently I was talking to some of our "pilot" i61 Missional Community about the importance of changing the way we think and the language we use being important as we seek to create a discipleship culture here at HBC. We made some observations, then reflected and discussed the statement: " We don't go to church we are the church" 

I believe a significant change of thinking that we need to lead the congregation through at HBC is captured in this slogan. For many Christians in HBC & across the UK this way of thinking is captured in this statement: "we need clergy, buildings and a Sunday services to be a real church!" It's not that any of these elements are wrong, (although personally I'm not sure the distinction of clergy & laity is that helpful), what this statement reflects is a "Sundaycentric" approach to our definition of church. This diagram is a. Helpful one to visually illustrate our thinking and our language gives us away every time: I'm going to church this Sunday, see you at church next week, 
The drawing on the left hand side is is what most of us growing up have come to refer to as the church. A building. The place where Christians go, usually on Sunday, to worship and listen to the preacher.
The arrows pointing toward the building indicate people heading to the building together on Sunday.
“But the Bible never ever describes the church as a building. It always refers to the church as a people–God’s people, in Christ–who are now sent by the Holy Spirit out into all of life to be the body of Jesus.

The drawing on the right hand side shows a group of people with arrows indicating outward movement. I personally I think this is a better picture of the church; a people who are sent by God...who are outward focused. Certainly not a building, or contained within four walls for an hour or two each week.

I noticed yesterday that on the official John Wimber Facebook page this was their post, a quote from the man himself: "the church is not the building, it's the people, it's not just the gathering, it's also the scattering."  The idea that we go to church is deeply embedded in our thinking and requires new forms of thinking and new language to break free from but break free we must especially if we want to release the missional imagination with the people we lead. 

for us to be missional disciples we need to break out of our thinking and language of going to church and really start to be the church to the people around us