Monday, August 28, 2006

Is the Local Christian Church in Australia totally IRRELEVANT?

On my previous post on religion was a comment from a simply stupendous human being wondering whether the local church as it is, is actually a relevant institution to help the every day person find a relationship with Jesus. My opinion on this is going to take some time, so sit back. Firstly we need to go to what actually is the church. To do that I'll go to the word. The greek word 'Ecclesia' is the most common word used that is translated to the english word church. This word means 'a gathering of the called out ones'. Two things here, 'gathering' coming together as a group of people and 'called out' - set apart for some purpose. The word wasn't just used for Christians at the time of biblical authorship, it was also used for other groups eg the Jewish community. Another greek word translated to the word 'church' in scripture is Kuriakos which means 'belonging to the Lord' if you put these two together it does describe the Christian church well; a gathering of the called out ones who belong to the Lord.

This I believe is the church in it's purest form.

Now . . Imagine a church, like this, under persecution from the Roman empire, like death to those who call someone other than Caesar Lord. Suddenly this gathering together takes on a whole new meaning. It's about love, support, encouragement, teaching, unity and community. Actually sounds inviting, challenging, believing in something so much that you were willing to risk your life to meet together. That's cool.

How does that measure up to the local church you know?

Well, the early church was extremely simple wasn't it? Somewhere along the line some bits were added to this community that shaped it to what it is today. Most of all what I see today is the worship of church itself rather than gathering to worship God and encourage each other. By worship I don't just mean singing and music I mainly mean where our time goes. My philosophy is that where most of our time goes is what we worship. But we've become so programmed, so engrained in the processes of this church worship that we've become creatures of habit rather than people of true worship.
So . . . Does this mean that the local church is down the gurgler, has bit the bulldust, gone with the wind? Er . . . no I don't think so. There are people all over the world who have a heart for God and they are the local church. Within them is the heart of the Father whose heart yearns for the nations. Does it mean it can stay like it is? Er . . . No I don't think so!!! If the church is going to truly impact this current generation we must reinvent ourselves and get back to the simplicity of what it means to be a called out people for the purposes of Jesus Christ. If this means that the church just meets together, to encourage, to support, to love then there's a great start. How that happens? I dunno and I don't really care but lets get away with trying to build our church, lets get away with doing things just because we do them all the time, and lets be about Loving God and Loving people and lets do that together. Lets not be so concerned with who's in and lets look out!
But also, one last thing, followers of Jesus Christ need to remember that we were not saved to be confined in church walls. The ecclesia was not a place it is a people group. We are saved not to do church we are saved to love people like Christ loved and with the power of His Spirit. The Ecclesia was just the group the individuals were associated with. My marriage is with Christ not with the church, Christ is the bridegroom remember? Don't get me wrong I don't mean don't go to a local church, lets just get first things first. Love ya's


Annette said...

Hey Glenno! Found out about blog through Toby! I really enjoyed what you said about local church. The more and more I ask God for revelation in local church the more I get the picture of community and how Jesus moved around through different countries in the three years of His public ministry. What an IMPACT He had! His community of disciples were with Him and He was doing His Father's work. It excites me that Jesus was not confined to one region but cared about what He was doing that day and doing His Fathers will! Yet, He cared and loved people in a genuine way without running onto the next place. Jesus left transformation wherever He went! Yay for God!
Love you all!

Toby said...

Amen, my friend!

There's still a part of me that dares to think 'maybe we would benefit from a bit more persecution?'. No, it wouldn't be fun, but it would probably push us to get back to what matters.

Here's a thought. Let's get on with it before we're forced to! Let's do it instead out of love for each other and love for our wonderful Heavenly Father.