Thursday, November 14, 2013
Does This Really Need To Be Said?
Think about the local church as an embassy from the future. It's a formally constituted gathering of Spirit-indwelt kingdom citizens who proclaim and display Christ's end-time rule. They gather to declare their king's warnings and promises, and they gather to formally affirm one another as kingdom citizens through the keys given by their king, which they do with baptism and the Lord's Supper. Here are the laws, and here are the passport holders.Random thoughts while I read that...
What's more, these eschatological embassies on earth, spread out like pins on a map, should be characterized by an unworldly culture. It's not a culture imported from another place, but from a future age. It's not defined by sushi, cricket, or burqas, but by the habits of holiness and love and the ambassadorial work of discipling, evangelism, hospitality, and caring for the needy.
Citizenship, mind you, is an office. And activities like discipling, evangelism, and hospitality constitute a Christian's basic office responsibilities. "Go and make disciples," Jesus says. "Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality," Paul says. These are what Christians do by virtue of being citizens of Christ's kingdom. We "live as citizens worthy of the gospel," which means "striving side by side for the faith of the gospel" (Phil. 1:27, my translation; cf. 3:20).
The local church, in short, is the embassy where we show up for work, where we learn to be ambassadors who evangelize and disciple, and where we display an otherworldly culture that shines like stars in the dark night sky (Phil. 2:15).
...Isn't that a rather obvious notion? How did we turn so wrong?
...The business model (identified in paragraphs preceding these) is not the enemy of this model, ideas from it are needed.
...In fact, isn't having a model rather than relying on the Holy Spirit part of the problem?
...When we follow culture as we do, is not the real problem that we follow when we should lead?
...Isn't the real problem then our lack of confidence in our power and ability to lead?
Concluding thought - It's not what we do, it's who we are when we do what we do. If we want to change things we should start with ourselves.
Holy Spirit church models