Hidy, ho there, neighbors! I hope you’re having a great Wednesday (a.k.a. “hump day”…).
I’ve been wanting to share some of my own story here on the blog. Specifically about my journey of growing into my own faith, discovering Christ in a deeply intimate way, and discovering the ekklesia (church) as I had never known it before.
As I think about this journey, there are certain events that are seared into my memory. One such event occurred at a church that my wife and I were attending about 10 years ago where the Senior Pastor of the previous 25 years or so had recently retired. The denomination sent in an interim pastor, who held a vision casting meeting one Sunday evening.
I don’t remember all of the details of the evening, but at one point the interim pastor asked the congregation to list the “assets” of the church that could help them reach the local community. So the list included several things, and then we were asked to rank the top three items in order.
What happened next really troubled me, and I will never forget it.
Everyone was really excited about the results. Really. Excited.
And the results were:
1. The Building
2. The Pastoral Staff (which was maybe four men)
3. The Congregation
I remember sitting in my seat, wanting to stand up and shout, “WHAT!?!??!?! That’s completely upside down, at best!”
However, the excitement of the crowd and the approval of the staff running the meeting kept me in my seat. Maybe it was fear of sounding different that stopped me, but I still wish I had said something.
This essentially was saying that the congregation was useless without a building and a small paid staff.
I simply couldn’t grasp that a dead, dumb, mute, lifeless building could possibly be more important than the people themselves.
I simply couldn’t grasp that four men, mostly overworked taking care of everyone in the church, were also going to find the time to reach the folks in the sprawling suburbs surrounding the church.
In my mind, each person there was a valuable member of Christ’s body and existed in a context in which Christ could be expressed, without the need for a remotely located building or the oversight of a paid staff. Therefore, the people were the most important asset, after of course, having a unified vision of Christ as our life.
I thought that if I could only keep one of the three items listed with a mindset to reach out to the community, I would have to choose the congregation over either the building or the staff. Without the people, little to nothing would be done.
This really opened my eyes to the off-centeredness of so many Christians’ view of the church, the ekklesia, the body of Christ, and it sent me on a search to understand what church is really about.
I’ll share more of that journey in upcoming posts.
I do want to note that I was not and am not upset with anyone that was at that vision meeting. I’m still friends with many of those folks today and I know they love the Lord. But it was an eye-opening experience that the Lord used in my life to nudge me in a new direction.
Follow the Life!
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