What is the church meant to look like?

Sounds easy enough, but is it?  Most of the Epistles were written to help guide and develop the early church into what Jesus had imparted into those who walked with Him and knew Him.  Take a read.  What the early church faced is not very different then what we face today.

We are nearly plagued with  information about church ideas.  How to grow it.  How to make it relevant.  How to connect.  I am apprecaitive of all the help out there, but sometimes…we can have too much head knowledge and not enough Holy Spirit knowledge of what needs to happen in the church.  Recently, I heard someone that framed it pretty well for me:  Our success in life is not based on how many we reach or how large our ministries, but upon how much of heaven we learn to live here on earth.  That’s pretty good.

I have been involved in planted two churches to date, and while I aimed to keep things simple and focused on Jesus, it is amazing how much cultural baggage sneaks in there…and personal baggage.  But you know, I have also had to learn that God is not mad at me or disappointment for those areas that I get it wrong.  He loves me.  He was at work with the revelation I had, and as He leads me forward, He wants me to grow.  To grow in confidence in Him and who He has created me to be.

When we resigned the two churches we started for God’s next adventure, and the adventure did not happen (in the fashion or speed I had imagined)…I began to doubt myself.  Doubt the way I perceived ministry.  And I let “comparing” rob me of the space God was giving our family to recoup, grow, and get His heart for what was next in His timing.

Two years on and looking at life and ministry a bit differently, I still see, church is meant to be about Jesus.  Even more so.  I have been around hurting people more and walked in different shoes, and am more convince that sometimes the things we try and control and make more presentable to people is actually what they really need!  They need the Holy Spirit.  They need life.  They need a chance to be a mess and a chance to express that, not just to listening to someone speak and a band leading a few songs of music.

If the church is to be about Jesus, what was He like.

He was approachable and a friend of sinners.  They felt comfortable around Him, and yet, He still healed the sick and cast out demons (with all the kicking and screaming that can go with that).  He didn’t see a contradiction between being relevenat and connecting people where they were at and radical faith and supernatural reality.  Why do we so often?  The church can be either weird or releveant.  Jesus was both weird and relevant.

Years ago A mentor in my life said that it had been years since seeing a real move of God that he preferred the mess that goes with wildfire then no fire.  Face it, when God shows up, our control has to go.  Life and church becomes messy.

Discussing with a good friend about reaching the next generation under us (we are in our middle age), he called them a generation of “no expectation.”  He clarified by saying that we often do not having expectations on young people, and therefore we try to connect with them where they are at instead of expecting them to rise up!  As the adage goes…”if you aim for nothing, that is what you get.”

Jesus had no problem putting demands on His followers.  Selling up.  Leaving all.  Giving up their lives.  These are not easily done and a lifetime process, but surrender in stages has to start somewhere.  Why not today?  Why not be radical today?

When we truly start to understand the cross, we will give our lives away.  Until then, we are not living or preaching the gospel of Jesus, but something of man.