Tuesday, November 04, 2008

More from Marcus on The Church

Here's another good post from Marcus on the church. It's worth the read:

What makes a church up? Again and again I was confronted with that question. What is a "minimal church", but still a church, maybe even a mature one? What has to be, what may be, what do we just think it has to be? During many hours travelling by train I finished the book I got from CA last summer: “From the ground up” by Scott Horrell. It presents a Brazilian study to that question. They say the majority of activities in churches revolve around four central images

  • The church building or temple
  • Sunday, the Christian Sabbath
  • The worship service
  • The full time pastor

Hmm, is that the way it's supposed to be? Is that the way you think about church? Check out what Marcus has to say.


Bruce said...

This is Bruce from Mt. Morris, Illinois, here. (Go Bucks!)

I am very sympathetic to the concerns and ideas of those pursuing faithful house church models as a way to rejuvenate and better multiply congregations of believers.

However, in the revised definition of a church that Marcus quoted, there was no place for leadership. Now, I understand the problem that full-time staff can be in terms of making the congregation think that he is the focal point for ministry, but on the other hand, would the apostle Paul have considered any church complete or even legitimately constituted without appointed elders and deacons?

In seeking to make corrections, we don't want to swing the pendulum too far the other way.

Todd said...

Hey Bruce,
Great point! I completely agree with you that there must be some 'recognized leadership' for a local church to be a church. I think Marcus was going for that (even though he didn't say it explicitly) when he said the church was 'organized to do God's will.' You are right to bring out the fact that a large part of being organized is have recognized leadership in place. Here is another definition we might use: A fellowship of believers in Jesus Christ committed to gathering regularly for biblical purposes under a recognized spiritual leadership.
This one doesn't unpack the 'biblical purposes,' but maybe it's okay to leave some flexibility there. What do you think?

Bruce said...

Sounds good. Does that mean I can keep my job?

By the way, here's some audio I've been enjoying on less-institutional, more informal/community-oriented church life. It's by some guys from England who've written a book called Total Church (Crossway). You can get free conference audio here. It's very stimulating.


Todd said...

Tim Chester was at our Church Planting Institute. A few of our missionaries have gone to Sheffield to have a closer look at what he's doing and how it works. Exciting stuff!