Saturday, October 15, 2011

What "Church" Is

For me "church" is boiling down to two things. By "church" I mean: a people movement following after Jesus Christ and his redemptive Kingdom-mission.

Jesus-following people are to do 2 things:
  1. 1. Dwell in Christ. (See esp. John 14-15-16)
  2. 2. Get equipped for works of ministry. (Esp. Ephesians 4:11-12)
When "church" meets the purposes are: corporate dwelling in Christ, and gaining more "equipment" to effectively minister the gospel in the world.

Corporate gatherings help Jesus-followers "gain heart" if they've lost any. (2 Cor. 4:1) Here, especially, the gifts of the Spirit come into play, all for the sake of building up the church and bringing strength, comfort, encouragement, and healing.

A number of things follow from this, to include:
  • "Church" is not an entertainment center, with a few people doing ministry.
  • "Church" is not about some "audience." As N.T. Wright says, when someone becomes a Jesus-follower and, therefore, becomes "church," they step onto the stage as "actors" in Act V of the 5-Act Play that is the biblical Grand Narrative.
  • "Church" is not about "striving" or "trying harder." It is about abiding in Christ. The promise for all who enter into this close relationship "in Christ" is a life that bears much fruit.