What is the Church?
I was thinking about this as I spoke to my parents about their experience at the voting booth on Saturday, this started me thinking again about what the Church is and why it exists.
My reflection is that the church is the gathering of God's people, what happens after that is still the Church, and the Church ministers wherever those who associate with the people of God care and proclaim the gospel.
I love the gathering of the Church, it is a great place that thrives in contexts and within people that would not step into a formalised religion, it exists where there is evangelical bands, speakers screaming 'come forward for salvation, I see that hand!!' it underpins youth groups, social gatherings, workplaces basically anywhere 2 or more gather.
Members of the Church minister in ways that the formalised Church can not. Wherever people who have confessed 'Christ is risen' proclaim the gospel the Church is ministry. This excites me, that this undercurrent of the gospel carries the Church into peoples houses, workplaces and schools. I was reading on another blog the danger of the 'emerging church' throwing out the programs and just being, and to a certain extent I agree. The gathered church can minister in some very powerful ways, but as a wise man once said, or was it Phil McCreddan, perhaps a wise man wrote it and Phil read then told everyone else that a wise man said it, anyway, this wise man said, "You can catch glimpses of the Kingdom of God, but you cannot build a program around a glimpse." Once you try to contain or repeat that glimpse of the kingdom, where the oppressed are set free, there is release to the captives, the blind can see....... If you try to contain that it slips away.
The gathering of the Church remains a powerful thing, my earliest experience of the kingdom came about at a rally for peace. Sitting on my dads shoulders looking around at the most people I had ever seen gathered in one place for the same reason, thinking 'Wow, this is great. I want ice cream.' (I was only about 6). But that experience has stayed with me and underpins my understanding of the power of the gathered church. And while I love this image I do not want to see the gathered church reduced to a flash mobbing type of event.
The Church gathers to proclaim the gospel as a choir, and to tell the stories of the people of God.
I was about to write a question but then again, I am a minister and I already know the answer...... To this question anyway.
Why the hell have we made the gathering of church so boring and conservative?
I am speaking from my own experiences here remember that before the social action Church of Christ steals my letterbox and sets fire to my cat in protest! But we have cut down the gathering and stories to one persons choice of songs, and then one or two people speaking of their experiences of God as if no one else is valid! Again, sweeping generalisation. But as a minster I can say, it is often easier to organise everything the same way, and keep in under your control, if you let people speak up in church they may say something that is controversial.
what do people think?