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How to “do church”

March 9, 2009

We had some good convo going a couple weeks ago about how to be a Christian. There were great thoughts going around, but honestly I was still a little blurry about how it all plays out in the day to day. Then, last Saturday, some of the students got together to watch The Passion of the Christ (to inspire and prepare us for the Stations of the Cross art exhibit coming your way next month).

And one big reason why I’m so sold out on training revolutionary artists in these days is the raw power of good art. As we sat in a dark sanctuary to watch that unfold, all of the confusion and all of the fuzziness dissipated. He did this. He bore this, and He suffered this. For real. For people. And they need to know. That’s it.

congregation_1943Which concluded that issue in my heart, but there’s been another one.

How do we “do church?” Again – I’m struggling between two big camps, here.

There’s one group of church leaders, consultants, writers, researchers, etc. who are really preaching “service.” They remind us that the Church is the body of Christ – His hands and feet. We’re commanded to serve people. We’re the light and the salt of the earth, and they constantly remind us to focus our attentions outward – on social services and community outreach – instead of inward – on fund raising and numbers.

Then there’s this other group of church leaders, consultants, writers, researchers, etc. who don’t see massive community outreach programs in the book of Acts. They had a soup kitchen, it seems, but senior leadership wasn’t really involved. They preach the Word and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, and refuse to be distracted by a laundry list of community service projects.

The former would say that if we really are studying the Word, then we have to live it out in service. The later would perhaps leave it to individuals to engage in service and giving, instead of organizing church-wide efforts.

The former would likely plan their weekend worship services around new visitors: worship would be simple, the message would be clear and well illustrated and short, assimilation would be front-of-mind for everyone. The later may be more inclined to format their weekend worship services for Christians: worship would be spiritual even if that means it’s uncomfortable at times, the message would require more effort from the congregation, spiritual healing would be a big focus.

Of course I’m being general. And as with before, I’m sure there’s a balance between the two that’s necessary. But where is the balance? What is the primary focus? How much time does senior leadership give to community service projects in order to add weight to their importance? Who are weekend worship services for anyway? How much do you rely on books and teaching from others, and how much do you turn it off and refuse anything that doesn’t come from the place of prayer?


One Comment leave one →
  1. March 9, 2009 4:30 pm

    if the church is the body of Christ
    and i am part of that

    i guess that i don’t “do” church
    but i “am” a part of the church

    to me that means to believe in Jesus as the Son of the Father God
    and be led by the Holy Spirit.

    to Love God,
    to Love others,
    to encourage those in the body.

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