People simply aren’t going to “church” anymore. This isn’t shocking; it’s become the Sunday-Funday norm. Notice I said “church” (more on that later). If you scan cities across the nation on a Sunday morning, you’ll observe a massive exodus fleeing the pews, scattering in hundreds of directions: coffee houses, parks, back yard brunches, the mountains, downtown marches, lakes, beaches, and of course, couches!
As I stated in Part 1 (Read HERE), "they (church leaders) are literally rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." Professional pastors are fatigued, racking their brains wondering where they can find the next, relevant model to bring people back in the church doors.
I posed the haunting and perhaps frustrating questions, what if they don’t come back, and “they” (whomever “they” are) find other things in their weekly rhythm that bring them joy, hope, peace and goodness?
Before I dive into that question in more depth, let’s go back to the question, “Who/ What/ When/ Where/ Why/ How is church?”
Did you think about it?
Let's do a tad nerd session, and then get to the basics…
That’s the Greek word used in the New Testament for church. It refers to an “assembly,” but when you break it down and look at the ancient beginnings of this spiritually fringe movement, it’s much, much deeper.
Ek = "from/ out of"
Kaleo = "to call"
Essentially, it’s the “ones called out”
This is an organic assembly, not a static group of people stuck in a building on Sunday morning doing a routine service. The earliest Christians were people who were moved by spirit and lived a life of good news (that’s actually where we get the word, “evangelical,” a word that has sadly been culturally hijacked beyond comprehension!). These earliest followers of Jesus were Jews who saw an expansive view of God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
While they continued to meet in the Temple courts and practice their covenantal religion of Judaism, they saw that spirit was on the move, calling them back to their Abraham roots: a blessing to all nations – Gentiles!
Breaking bread was an act of intimacy. The earliest followers of Jesus extended their table to all people regardless of tribe, the status of one’s foreskin and dietary restrictions.
All were welcome… all were accepted… all were loved!
Compassion, mercy, extravagant love and healing were at the heart of this organic movement of radical good news, liberation and oneness. This kingdom was about KINship!
Everyone was filled with AWE and WONDER!
People were actually deeply moved to be a part of this thing called, “church.”
It’s time we reexamine what this “good news” of “ekklesia” means today in a world that is more polarized than ever before – a western world that is no longer interested in “church,” but way more interested in other activities that bring joy!
It’s time we expand our understanding of church and are awakened to what spirit is doing in our midst today! This will be really hard for many people because change is just freakin' hard as hell!
It's time we ask a different set of questions that radically move beyond the 4 walls of just "church."
Where do you experience the divine, and/ or that which you perceive to be pure, good and holy; where do you go that awakens your soul, and gives you genuine rest?
What group(s) of people do you see doing good work in your city?
If you have children, whom do you want influencing your kid’s life?
Where do you find acceptance?
What kinds of conversations are shaping the world toward real progress?
Where are the walls of hostility, oppression and tribalism knocked down?
What's happening in your neighborhood?
Who needs some TLC?
Go to those places and be with those people.
Taste and see that it is good!
Wherever we see the good news of lives being made whole….