As I pray and search for creative ways to infuse vision into the church, I've done a lot of research on the question, "what is the church?"
I think that is a good question.
If you go on youtube or blogs or any social network you can find quite a bit of different views to the question, what is the church? Everything from: street interviews with public opinion, pastors explanation, creative animations of explanation and so on.
There are a lot of thoughts around this topic. Rightfully so, I mean both sides of the issue have plenty of scripture to back up their views, so much so, that it can quickly become a debate.
And that's where a good question quickly becomes bad.
It's bad to create division, strife, debate over what the church is, who the church is for, what the church should look like, and who it's not for. (like I said, a lot of views out there)
Perhaps we have these strong feelings about church because on one side non-believers (as well as some believers) have a very negative view of the church. Then on the other side there are very strong and positive views of the church. Thus the debate.
See if you ask most people, "what is the church?' They will respond correctly, "it's the people who follow Christ." True? Then if you point at a building and ask, "what is that?" They will answer, "a church."
Very confusing eh? The church is the people not the building, yet we meet in a building and call it a church. Back and forth we go! (sorry, forgive me for being factitious....but I think you see what I'm getting at.) Which by the way let me add. I believe Christians should faithfully gather together in large venues as the church in a church. ;)
So, here is my thought. Maybe we have all these different feelings about the church because we've spent so much time asking the wrong question. Perhaps instead of asking "what is the church?" we should ask "what is our life about?"
Did you get that? As believers (who are the church) when we come together in a church (place where we gather) we should ask the question, "what are our lives all about?
Life is about God and His Kingdom.
If we truly understood that concept then we lose the tags of a church being seeker sensitive, traditional, transformational, emergent, modern, and countless others. We would not argue about the programs, strategies, and order of service line up. We would not leave the church because of personal preference dislikes or offense and hurt. Instead we'd exercise the very things that makes us a church without spot or wrinkle, things like unity, love, long-suffering, patience, kindness, perseverance and so on.
When I read what Christ says the Kingdom of God is like, then I see what God is like. When I pay attention to what God is like, I learn what He likes.
The church is us and in that we tend to bring a very US mindset in how we think it should be done. But if we live with a mindset that we are about His Kingdom then church will be different because we will be different.
It's not about asking "what is the church?" It's about asking "what is His Kingdom all about?"