Oct 29, 2010

Moving From Being "In" Church to Being "As" Church

As long as I can remember, the operative word for the church's self understanding has been for its members to be "in" church. Thus the primary emphasis for ministry was of gathering.
  • The churches held revival meetings so that the church could get more people to be "in" church
  • Members invited non-members to come to church 
  • The goal was to provide as many programs and facilities in the church so people could come to church to be ministered to
The goal has always been to get as many people to be "in" church. The more people a church had "in" church, the more that church was viewed as being successful.

However, I am convinced that unless the church starts incorporating a new preposition for its self understanding, the church will continue to die and become ever more irrelevant.

For the imminent and emerging culture we are living into, the church needs to move from being a church that focuses on being "in" church as one who see herself primarily being "as" church in the world.

The church needs to change from being a place of gathering to becoming a place of sending. The primary role of the church is no longer gathering the members to be "in" church but of sending its members into the world to live "as" the church in their work place, their communities, neighborhoods, their schools. 

Its as the people of God show up as the church of Christ in the world that people do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior will come to experience Jesus Christ.

In a non-Christian majority world, Jesus will have to show up where the people are. Christ will have to show up through the lives of Christ-followers in everyday places - the marketplace, the boardroom, the classroom, the neighborhood, etc.

If the only place where God's presence resides is within the walls of the church facilities, such churches will die.

Our churches have to become places where Christ-followers are being sent out into the community "as" the church of Jesus Christ.

Jesus told the church, "Go!" Go and make disciples of all nations.

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