1208792_81039391So many of us who are interested or concerned with ecclesiology, church growth and evangelism would spend time listening intently to the latest podcast or reading the latest book on the subject.

You hear of ‘seeker-friendly’, purpose-driven, organic church, simple church, multi-site church and ‘fresh expressions’. Some are ‘old hat’, some are relatively new, some are sensible, some are inventive and some are just plain intentionally provocative. Still – they all seem to have a genuine desire to connect with those who need to hear the Good News.

I heard someone quote Craig Groeschell (I like LC wonderful generosity and what they have done with the best Christian app on Itunes) who said something like this: ‘to reach people no one else is reaching you need to do things no one else is doing.’

And the speaker challenged those who were listening to make whatever changes in their church service and ministries in order to reach people.

I hope I am not over-reacting or being defensive. I am not averse to change but I am nauseated by the current church obsession with change.

I wondered whether that’s why we get it wrong: mixing-up what church gatherings should be (koinonia, ecclesia) with what outreach should be.

A couple of questions to ponder over (while musing over Acts & the Epistles):

  • Were the Early Church gatherings primarily for ‘insiders’ or ‘outsiders’?
  • Is mission/outreach/witnessing a Church task or a personal one?

2 thoughts on “Pondering…

  1. I agree with you, but think that perhaps you have mixed up a bit of “being” and “doing”.

    If we are to think about “being” outreach – what would that look-like. We may not need to change any of our “doing” to “be outreach”. Our attitude would be different and so would our meetings but not because we did anything differently.

    I’m not sure that the early church thought about their gatherings as “doing” at all, they seem more like “being” times. As “being” times then I’m not sure that the distinction between “insiders” and “outsiders” was that important.

    On your second question, part of our problem is that we regard outreach/mission/witness as a task that needs to be performed rather than something that we are.

  2. In response to your questions:

    1. Did the early church (Acts/Epistles as you suggest) consider itself anything other than a continuation of Judaism? If so then their meetings (assuming they had “meetings” in the sense we understand in the modern world) would surely have been open to all? If they understood that they were becoming a separate faith from the mother faith, then I guess their meetings would have been more for the insiders.

    2. The answer to that question is simple. It is both a church and personal task. Individually Christians witness to the faith they profess with other individuals, the Church stands as a societal witness (I am a big fan of parochialism, in the true sense of the word, as a result of this). There is a danger in making the faith too individualistic just as much as there is in having a purely collectivised mindset.

    Among the many papers I came across recently are some notes and diagrams about ecclesiology which I plan to write up more thoroughly in coming posts on Diamonds and Rust.

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