Over the past few weeks, I’ve been inundated with questions about The Church at Buffalo Creek. You can read about our call to plant a church, our hopes and visions for a new church. Here are some of the questions I’ve been asked,
What kind of a church will it be?
What style of music will you have?
Will you preach exegetically or topically?
Are you a Calvinist?
Will you have Sunday school or small groups?
Are you conservative?
What’s your stance on alcohol?
What’s your stance on politics, homosexuality, etc?
These are all great questions when you’re asking about the nature of your church. At the same time, these are terrible questions when you’re asking about the purpose of your church.
We need to reframe our definition of church. Pastors and church strategists have been saying this for years. Reframe, redefine, rediscover. Entire church planting movements are finding their roots in the first century church, the church in the Book of Acts. The first century church met in homes. In the New Testament, we don’t read of a corporate gathering outside of Jesus or Paul engaging Jewish culture at the synagogue.
Let’s just face it, for most of us, our “church” looks different than the Biblical model.
And that’s ok…yes, it’s ok. It’s not wrong. It’s not heretical. It’s not less righteous if you don’t have home groups. It’s not more righteous if you do.
If you’re a staff member at a church, you need a vision and you need systems to accomplish that vision. Your vision and motivation should be Biblical and ordained by God. If it’s not, stop what you’re doing right now. No, seriously, stop it. Your systems should be whatever works to maintain your personal integrity and the integrity of your vision.
If you’re a church member, the purpose of the church is something entirely different for you. The “church” is your place to grow as a disciple of Christ. If it meets in a building, a school, a home, a yard, a field, wherever, the purpose is to grow you spiritually.
Jesus put it simply, “29 Jesus answered, “The most important [commandment] is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” – Mark 12:29-30 (ESV)
- Does your church gathering challenge your heart? That is, your affections and the things you treasure. Are your affections being stirred for Christ, His glory and His Kingdom? I don’t mean affections being played with or redirected. I’m talking about stirred. You walk away with a deepened affection and love for Christ. A passion to see Him glorified in every area of your life.
- Does your church gathering challenge your soul? That is, the core of your beliefs. Do you come away with an awareness of who God is and how He acts in the world and in your life? You and I are invited to surrender our lives to Christ and the promise is eternal life. If you’re betting your eternity on it, you better know why. Does your church challenge you at the core of your beliefs? Not just how you behave, but what you believe.
- Does your church gathering challenge your mind? That is, what you think about God, His glory and His Kingdom. Do you find yourself acknowledging God in your decisions, your actions, your life? Are you challenged to see the world through a Biblical lens? Are you challenged to think about all of life in relation to God and His supremacy? A faith relationship is more than Sunday…
- Does your church gathering challenge your strength? That is, where you invest your abilities. Does your church provide opportunities to serve? Not just in programs that are internal but serving the community around you. Does your church challenge you to invest yourself in others, to serve others with the love of Christ? This is the expression of the gospel outside the walls of a building.
Jesus initiated the “church” as an organism. A living, breathing, active organism that will propel His Kingdom purposes to the ends of the earth. A body that will carry the message of His eternal Kingdom to the last person on earth. His church is His bride, given to the world to show His unfailing, unapologetic love to people who need love.
So, what kind of a church am I planting? One that, with God’s help, will be faithful to challenge you to love God with all you are; to unashamedly proclaim His message to the ends of the earth. A church that you can’t get away from, because it’s challenging you in every area of life to be more like Jesus.
That’s the best answer I can come up with…
grace and peace,