Thursday, July 28, 2011
Church and Ministry
The article mentions other “non-traditional” ways churches are reaching out, “such as tattoo parlors, music venues or even bars. They may host heavy-metal concerts, skateboard competitions, motorcycle shows or even body-piercing events to spread their message.” One church promotes its ministry with business cards that use the slogan, “Hate Religion?” written in the style of a blood smear. “Other churches have begun to draw younger crowds with rock music and a come-as-you-are message,” such as the Current Church in my own town of Franklin, which shares building space with a Christian concert venue called “The Gear.” The article says this style has allowed them to attract “a mostly 25-and-younger crowd” that would normally not be interested in church.Hmmm...sound familiar? Mike goes on at great length to write about what is, and what is not a church. I have to agree with him. He writes from a theological and diversity perspective in this post. I want to take a practical one. Mike says the ability to call these ministries a church is based in:
Two things I would like to say in response to this author’s observations.
- One, this is not news. We in the Christian culture have been watching this happen for years. Internet Monk itself has been looking at these developments and critiquing them for over a decade now.
- Two, what I wonder is: can we call these communities “Churches” in the truest Biblical, historic, and traditional sense of the term?
Without denigrating what these folks are trying to do, I sincerely wonder: IS THIS CHURCH?
I am going to argue, “No.”
Today, “church” is defined by many as a community that practices evangelism and discipleship.Many forget the discipleship part, but that is a post for another day. As mike points out, this is an insufficient definition for a church. Practically, this is a recipe for the institutional version of a shark - a self perpetuating eating machine, growing only so that it can eat more and reproduce.
A church, on the other hand is supposed to me much more than simply self-perpetuating. It is supposed to be an outpost for the Kingdom on God in hostile territory. I have used the analogy to a Calvary post in the wilderness before. It is a place of sanctuary and a place from which the new nation advances. It is leaven in the loaf, a city on a hill.
Yet, a church this limited is about itself, not about its role in the greater whole.
Many people have talked about the church moving in this direction to survive. "It's necessary," is the constant cry. Christ advanced the kingdom by dying.