Friday, October 24, 2008

Church My Way. SIMPLE CHURCH Made Easy

I’m not one to church-hop every time things don’t go my way. In 45 five plus years, I have been a member of only two churches and the only reason for the change was a 60 mile move.

But recently I have been wondering what I would look for in a church should I decide to make a change. Then it occurred to me that there are no churches good enough to join. The problem is that churches, as we know them today, should not exist at all. They are all corrupt; they are all unbiblical. I think I will start my own.

Where would we meet? We won’t need to rent a building or purchase a facility. We will just meet in my family room. That’s EASY. An intimate, Christ-centered community established primarily on relationships; just me and my wife and a few other like-minded folks who care to join together with us for support, conversation, and fellowship.

In my church planting plan, the first thing I would do is consider the name. I would avoid any name that would associate my church with a denomination. I would avoid names that might distinguish my church on doctrine. After all, how many Episcopal or United Methodist or Presbyterian churches did the Apostle Paul start? Those kinds of name only serve to be divisive or exclusive. A name like “FAMILY ROOM CHURCH” might be good. It’s comfortable, non-threatening, and inviting. Or maybe I would choose a name that is pretty simple or easy like maybe, yeah, that’s it, “EASY CHURCH.” That’s good; church should not be hard. I’ll keep it simple and EASY.

I think church should be more about ownership, community, unity, and relationships. It should be organic, Not organizational. It should be about the Body, NOT the Business. Church, after all, should not be characterized by non-essential programs and liturgies and complex institutional structures. All that stuff just gets in the way of what church should be. EASY CHURCH will be different.

Do you see how EASY this can be? We wouldn’t be bothered by the pressures that drive so many people to feel like they must “do their church thing” every week. We would not have to attend this service and go to that activity and meet on that committee and take kids to their functions. We would not be compelled to “check off” the list of all the prescribed legalistic elements and formalities of traditional church. It would be guilt-free, EASY CHURCH where we could just come as we are (I could just come in my pajamas), enjoy God, and love others.

And, in my EASY CHURCH, we will have no need of trained clergy. Where in the Bible does it say that pastors must have seminary degrees anyway? The Bible says the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. We would just simply let the Spirit of God flow through our meetings and do whatever He wants to do. If He leads us to worship, we would be free to spend the whole time worshipping. At other times we might just devote the entire time to embracing, loving, and comforting a member who is hurting. Maybe we’ll just sing, or pray, or share. Or maybe someone in the group might be moved to open a book to bring a relevant study for personal growth or perhaps someone might open the Bible and bring a message from God. We will not be forced to sit in rows like mindless spectators to listen to some preacher’s speech, but instead, we will all lovingly interact and dialogue about how God may be speaking to each of us individually. And we would not need to worry about getting out on time to go eat. In my family room, we would just eat together while we do church. That’s biblical. And for communion, we could have real bread and wine; not just some little stale, tasteless wafer with a watered down grape juice teasers.

In EASY CHURCH, our prayers would be more focussed and and our ministries could be centered on meeting our needs. As a small, loving, relational community, we would devote ourselves to each other. We would invest in each member’s individual and personal spiritual formation. Our concerns would be more about our deeds; not our creeds. We could use our time and our spiritual gifts to minister to each other rather than concerning ourselves with fruitless, academic exercises like teaching divisive doctrines. EASY CHURCH will be an environment where it will be EASY to do the Word; not just hear the Word.

Yes, the more I think about it, the more excited I get. Can’t you just feel the love? I think we have all been “doing church” wrong for too many years. A smaller, more primitive, essential, and simple kind of church really makes good sense to me and it is biblical. Like my family room church, the early churches were all house churches.

On second thought, I think I will furnish my family room with comfortable recliners and call my church, “EASY CHAIR CHURCH.”


NOTE

The above is intended to be satire but it is based in reality. Just when we are finally awakening to the dangers of the market-driven, mega-church-growth movement sweeping through the Christian community, it seems that another paradigm shift is gaining popular acceptance and phenomenal momentum right under our noses and may be already at work in many our own churches. And, ironically, the incubators for the new, re-defined church fad, are the small home-groups that, according to Rick Warren, are so much an integral and necessary vehicle for Purpose-Driven church Transitions.

“SIMPLE CHURCH” is a re-definition of church rising from the conversation between Christianity and the culture and worldview of postmodernism and could be seen as a subset of the Emerging Church.

Wikipedia has more information on “SIMPLE CHURCH”
here and a Google search will provide plenty of information about this rapidly growing movement.

1 comment:

Roger Gilstrap said...

If you really want your Easy Church to be a success, you should get rid of the word "church." That word is divisive and conjures up thoughts of traditionalism. Perhaps you should try "Easy Community of Believers," "Easy Harvest without Planting Farmhouse of Christian Believers," or some shch thing.