doing church

“Are we doing church the way Jesus intended for us to?”

The voice on the other end of the line was that of a young pastor who was experiencing the frustration, as well as the lack of fulfillment, that comes from trying to maintain the hectic schedule of programs that has come to be known as ministry in our contemporary culture. We have become consumed with a ministry mentality that equates busyness with productivity and coddling immature believers (who refuse to grow up and accept responsibility for their lives) with discipleship.

I am fairly confident that this is not what Jesus had in mind for his church. According to the historical account, found in the book of Acts, the church of the first century was marked by transformation. Transformed lives. Transformed communities. Transformed systems. And ultimately, transformed cultures. If Jesus came to give abundant life (John 10:10) it seems to me that his body, the church, should be doing the same. The church of this century should be engaged in the same life-giving activities that our predecessors gave attention to and, when we do, we will once again experience the vibrancy that characterized the believers of that time.

I think Pastor Bill Hybels got it exactly right when he wrote…

“There is nothing like the local church when it’s working right. Its beauty is indescribable. Its power is breathtaking. Its potential is unlimited. It comforts the grieving and heals the broken in the context of community. It builds bridges to the seekers and offers truth to the confused. It provides resources for those in need and opens its arms to the forgotten, the downtrodden, the disillusioned. It breaks the chains of addictions, frees the oppressed, and offers belonging to the marginalized of this world, Whatever the capacity for human suffering, the church has a greater capacity for healing and wholeness. The local church is the hope of the world.”


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