the aggregate|

Posted on February 25, 2010 by


| the way we think about being gathered|

I have had the opportunity to look at the way I think about “church” and, as always, God has given me something more to think about.

Let me give a fly through of the story of how my ecclesiological thoughts have progressed.

Church is just what we do

The Church is corrupt

The Church is a necessary nuisance

The Church is just a service

The local church is God’s hope for humanity.

Church gathering isn’t necessary, relationships are

Church gatherings are a reflection of our personal walk

The Church gathers in small groups to maintain our spiritual lives apart from big corporate gatherings

Obviously some of those are flat out false and I realize that, but this is how my thinking about the church has grown. Now with the space I have been given to study and think through these things a little more I have some new things to think about.

I still believe that the church needs to be meeting in groups that “do life” together. This concept boils down to having a spiritual family that you are in constant contact with and are able to struggle openly, rejoice loudly, and grow into maturity with. It is also a place for the practical living out of the gospel.

Also, I still believe that the church is called to meet corporately. Within this context we are able to join our voices together as a larger group to sing God’s praise, to intercede for our cities, to be faithful the the preaching and teaching of the word.

For the most part these elements are commonplace in churches today. We gather on Sundays as the church, and outside of that we meet in small groups as aspects of that larger whole. For example there is usually a college age group, a singles group, a seniors group, men’s groups, women’s groups, married groups, etc…

I heard an interesting comment from Steve Timmis, co-author of “Total Church” and one of the leaders of The Crowded House planting network. He talked about how he views their corporate gatherings. In summary, he views the sunday morning as the coming together of Gospel communities. This is subtle but profound. I think most of us look at our “small groups” as an extension of our Sunday morning gatherings.

What are some of the implications of thinking this way?

1) We place a greater weight to the living out of community | instead of viewing groups as a side ministry.

” They want to have a greater sense of community? Let’s just put them in groups of 15 and call it good.”

We view the smaller gatherings as the main function of the church and Sunday morning is to supplement and enable these groups to be the best representation of community that God has called us to.

2) It places more responsibility on the individual to engage in community | instead of being a breathing seat warmer.

If the church is really these groups of people living out what God has called us to be, then it is a lot harder to feel fulfilled as a follower of Christ when dedicate all of 2 hours a week to Him and His people.

Can you think of any more?

Is this concept the perfect way to think of church… No.

Will it work everywhere for everyone… No.

Is it helpful to challenge our presupposed notions… Yes.

I pray that God will change the Church into a passionate representation of Him, instead of the mouth breathing consumers that we have been.

Posted in: Praxis, Theology