I’ve been in the trenches of church planting and being a member of different churches over the last 28 years, and in that time I’ve always believed in the mission of the Church, both local and universal. The mission, for all churches, will always be the Great Commission:
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”Matthew 28:16-20
And the overarching principle by which we live in the world is God’s greatest commandment:
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a]31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”Mark 12:30-31
And I’ve been pretty committed ever since my early 20’s to helping the church fulfill its mission, while living out (as good as I can) God’s command to love him and love others. But, honestly, I’m tired. I’m tired of American Christianity. I’m tired of church politics. I’m tired of all the little kingdom building and egos. I’m tired of all the sheep shifting, and chasing after the next new church. I’m just plumb tuckered out.
So, I’ve basically been sitting on the sidelines for these last few years. More like five, actually, while visiting a church here and there. During these last few years, I’ve also come back around to the home church. Why? Because that passage in Acts 2:42-47 has always been in the back of my mind, niggling away and giving me an ideal that I’ve never given up. I am an idealist at heart, and sometimes naively so. But I’ve always resonated with that passage:
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.Acts 2:42-47
Doesn’t that stir your spirit? The ideal of having everything in common, and pitching in to help each other as they had need. And the last sentence: And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
I guess I also have a pretty loyal streak, since I’ve been a good worker bee at all the churches, being available to do whatever the pastor or small group leader or whoever was leading asked of me. Mostly in the doing and hospitality side of things. But boy, the picture that passage conjured up always gave me that sense of wonder, always wishing I could be in a community like that.
Back to the home church. I’ve given up on what I call the institutional church or American Christianity. You might call it western Christianity, but more or less I’ve given up on the structure and how church has been “done” all these years. I’ve decided, and have researched some, as to how to wipe the slate clean and being anew. This will be my “open source” church community journey, and I’ll share with you all my ideas and findings in the hope that you may also find it useful. Especially if you’re feeling the same way I’ve been feeling about Church.
When you see leaders like Francis Chan make a drastic move and go to Hong Kong, after building a megachurch, you have to wonder: how many other Christians, leaders included, are stuck in this cycle of quiet desperation? I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts, so drop me a line if you’d like. 🙂