Take away three things . . .


Hirsch and Frost in their incredible book, The Shaping of Things to Come ask this penetrating question:

What would your experience of church be like: (1) if you no longer had a building? (b) if you could no longer meet on Sundays? (c) if you had no pastor or clearly identifiable leadership team?

OK, if that’s too much, then just take one at a time. Some of you have lost identifiable leadership before. What did that do for your church in how it functioned?

Others have met in a rented facility or in homes. How did architecture change how women prayed, spoke, interacted? How did it impact the way you lived “church”?

The questions, the authors say, force us to think biblically and radically about our experience of church. Christendom, they say, has always associated itself with these three: buildings, Sundays, and clergy. “Yet the New Testament church had none of these.”

2 comments on “Take away three things . . .

  1. Involved in a very young church planting effort, I wrestle with the questions of our new believers, who have just enough contact with “church” to demand these same 3 things. Do I say “they are not important”? The response usually comes back, “well, don’t you have them in America?” The “uh, yeh, but we idolize them too much” response doesn’t really work. At least in this church planting work, I have found no one who wants to keep having church under the mango tree (although being the purist has tried to encourage it with the same response, “but they didn’t have buildings in the NT”)

    ….nor has anyone ever appreciated my suggestion of a Saturday night seeker service (“but Sunday is church day” they say),

    and of course, alot of people want a pastor or want to be one (“it gives us one man in our local organization who can lead us, give us vision, and help us know what to do”….my “Jesus is the head of the church” response is met with confused “the missionary doesn’t get it” looks…then they keep talking about naming pastors.)

    Does each church plant have to cycle through its self discovery…will it be 2050 when finally the church leaders (not yet born) who will start asking the same questions: “what are the things that shape the way we think about church?” That would be interesting to be around for…….

    -RV
    Missionary, Benin, West Africa

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  2. RV–
    This is the same point my friend, John Barton, said about our Uganda missions experience . . . I’m at their house . . . will write more about this later. Thank you.

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