Monday, May 16, 2011

Redefining Church

It seems that everybody has an opinion about church; especially here in the Bible belt. It is rare that I run into someone who doesn’t go to, or at least used to go to church. And they usually have an opinion (often a strong one) about what the church is, and what the church is supposed to do. Some of them are positive and some are negative. But just push the right button and you can usually get people to tell you what they think.

Unfortunately, it seems that many people’s definition of church is a bit skewed for one reason or another. Some see church in a positive light and some in a negative one. Those who have negative views use words like do-gooders, hypocrites, self-righteous, boring and judgemental in their definition. For them, church is something to be criticized, made fun of, and avoided.

For others, their view of church is more positive. Unfortunately for many of them, church has degenerated to meaningless ritual and religious activity.  Often, this will further degenerate into legalistic duty for some or nothing more than social activity for others.  Church then becomes defined in terms of rigid rules to follow or some spiritual box to check off for the week.

Not everyone has a view of church like these, but too many do. Consequently, the church is becoming increasingly irrelevant in a world that needs a healthy expression of Christ more than ever. So I propose a revolution - a Grace revolution. Let's join together and make it our mission to demonstrate grace, love people, and seek God with all our hearts. Let's lay aside our "got it all together" masks and show the world that life with Jesus is not an absence of problems or mistakes. Instead, it is a journey through life that's lived with a personal relationship with the Maker of the universe living it through me.

Let's freak people out by joining together and learning to appreciate each other - even when we disagree.  Let's show them that being a Christian doesn't mean that we are perfect or better than anyone - we're just learning to repent, ask forgiveness and keep following Jesus.  Let's quit "coming to church" and going through religious motions. Instead, let's "be the church" and come together to experience the transforming power of the presence of God.

Let's redefine church.

Acts 17:6 (ESV) “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also."