A phrase I heard at the Mission Shaped Ministry Taster Day and it has been rattling around my brain.
I remember a time when people used to talk about ‘going to Church’ Church was a place, a brick building with a cross on the top. Yet as I read scripture I realised that the Church of Jesus Christ was never meant to be an inanimate stone object but rather the people of God.
Going to Church is an Oxymoron, you can’t go to something you are!
I have tried to talk of Church as something we are rather than something we go to. I have talked a lot over the years about ‘being’ the Church as opposed just to ‘going to’ Church.
Yet the idea of Church as something we do has been making me think. Christianity is a ‘doing word’ as at its heart is the call to ‘pick up our cross and follow Jesus’, as often Church is passive it might exist as a group of people who believe in Jesus, but ‘faith without deeds is dead’, being Church is about a community corporately living out our faith.
Church defined by its action and activity in following Jesus, we BE church by coming together around Christ loving one another as community, but we ‘do’ Church when we step out in obedience to Christ.
This idea defines Church as not just a building, or even a gathering, but is defined by our obedience to Christ in seeking to “the Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven”.
The Church is meant to be an active world changing organism, it is an agent of change and transformation in the world.
Living for Christ is a verb.
Discipleship is a verb.
Church I believe should be a verb.
Being and Doing are at the heart of our identity, who we are is revealed by what we do!
Understanding Church by what we do actually seems quite Biblical, we are known for our fruitfulness and faithfulness, rather than our worship style or our denominational heritage.
As someone involved in Fresh Expressions I often hear people say “when are they going to come to proper Church” -makes my blood boil!-
Proper Church is not trying to pretend we are still in the Victorian era with old fashioned and outdated traditions, but rather one that looks and acts like Jesus.
Proper Church is one which shares the good news of Jesus in a way people can understand!
Proper Church is one who make disciples that look, sound, act and smell like Jesus!
Proper Church is one that seeks to feed the hungry!
Proper Church is one that loves the marginalised and disenfranchised!
Proper Church is one that worships by word and action!
Proper Church is prayerful and lead by the Holy Spirit.
Proper Church loves one another and looks like family.
Proper Church will offend the judgemental and the religious but be good news for those who are broken, dirty and hurting.
I guess proper Church looks a bit like this:
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved”.
So, let’s make Church a verb, let’s live out our faith together as Church, proper Church that looks like the hands and feet of Jesus active within our lives and within our community.