Imagine with me, for a moment, a Church where…
- there is no paid staff, and the pastor and other staff do not rely on the local church to provide for their families.
- there is a pastor, and other leaders are organically raised up from within the body – including future pastors of more churches and missionaries to foreign lands.
- everyone’s spiritual gifts are identified, honed, promoted, and encouraged to actively participate in the life of the church and to reach their communities.
- tithes aren’t spent on staff, facilities, curriculum, etc. – but rather is able to be gathered and put toward the needs of those in the body, the poor and widowed in the community, and even to help support missionaries abroad.
- there is no youth, children, single adult, senior adult, or any other age segregated ministries – but every person from birth to death is mentored and discipled, and also mentors and disciples others.
- the music ministry isn’t an overly produced Sunday gathering, but is an integral part of the gathering of the church where each person comes and sings the songs of their heart and the scriptures.
- the bible is taught, meditated on, and cherished – and each person is able to bring thoughts and the things they are learning by the Holy Spirit.
- each person is known intimately by every other person and no need or struggle is hidden in the shadows because it is a safe space where accountability, prayer, and help can be found.
- each person is constantly on mission, and they find encouragement, support, and help in their mission field they call home, work, school, or anywhere else.
- gathering isn’t just a once a week thing because you’re completely involved in the lives of one another 7 days a week.
- multiple local churches are birthed within the very homes of it’s people – and each of these bodies regularly connects with the other bodies to celebrate together and to support one another.
- things like COVID19 don’t bring the churches operations to a complete halt because the church knows they are far more than any one gathering, or any one building or space. They are the church, and it will continue to grow and reach it’s community and one another no matter what.
This and so much more…just…meditate on this for a little while, and let the image of this church fill your mind and thoughts.
Then…listen to this song by Jimmy Needham, “Clear the Stage“…
And/Or this song, “Heart of Worship“, by Matt Redman…
This, is much like what the NT church looked like. Much of this is lost on the Western Church of today. But it can be recaptured. In fact, I would even argue we are in the midst of a time where this is far more possible than times past.
Now…let me be clear, I’m not romanticizing the NT church as though they were the ideal state of being at all times. They had their problems. And this church will have it’s own as well.
But, there was a simplicity in who they were and how they conducted themselves that captured an entire world like no other organic entity ever had before or since, and it was powerful to see and be part of as it swept from city to city and nation to nation.
The music has faded…
The idols have been exposed…
And all has been stripped away…
Do we simply come, or do we go back to the way things were because that was familiar and comfortable?