Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Event or Community?

from ASBO Jesus.

Is church an event or a community?

Our family is a community. Our life is marked by events - big ones (birthday parties, special outings) and small ones (mealtimes, story time), but the events express the life of the community. I find it strange that the church, which is primarily a community of disciples entrusted with God's mission, has come to be defined by events in buildings. Even worse, these events are enshrined in the law of the land (e.g. the 1547 Sacraments Act, which surfaced recently in debates over communion and swine flu).

The event of public corporate worship has come to define the life of the church, and we then struggle to build a sense of community and common mission around the people who are drawn to the event. We turn to small groups to create a sense of community and fellowship among those who attend the event, but struggle to get people to join. Or they join, but the groups don't have a natural dynamic and impetus for growth or discipleship.

Are we starting in the wrong place?


  1. The problem is we're not starting, we're continuing.

    "If I was going to go there, I wouldn't start from here."

  2. Yes, I think you are starting in the wrong place, and that wrong place is the Church of England. I say that not to condemn the C of E but to suggest that by its very nature it is "defined by events in buildings ... enshrined in the law of the land". Its structures imply that the members of a congregation are everyone living in a certain geographical area, not "a community of disciples entrusted with God's mission". People like you and me who see this as the authentic model of the church will always find themselves fighting against the structure of the C of E, or else leaving it and setting up churches defined by voluntary membership.