• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Bigger Than You Think

Get on the road for a few weeks and you can quickly see your ability to post sort of peter out.  Then again, the time away can allow you to see things from a different perspective.

A few weeks ago, I started a conversation on what we, as a World Team community, mean by “church”.  In one post, I raised this question: “How do we begin to describe what we mean by “church” so that it provides a common base for all from which to work and which allows the functions of the church to take appropriate cultural forms where the church is established?”  That question is ultimately centered on the discussion of form and function; a needed and necessary discussion.

However, while I sat listening to a presentation at one of our 2011 Area Conferences, Mark brought me back to an even more fundamental or foundational principle, that the church is the community of all those God has brought into His family, His body.  “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews of Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”  (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

The church is first of all universal, and finds its expression in local communities.  We are part of something that is much “bigger than we think”, to borrow Patrick Johnstone’s phrase. 

So when we engage ourselves in establishing new communities of believers, we are not working in a vacuum or creating an entity that stands alone.  We participate in seeing that universal worshipping community extended, and manifested in the places where we live.

4 Responses

  1. When thinking of the church theologically and globally, it cannot be defined by form or size but can be defined primarily by relationship and secondarily by function. Think about this.

  2. One of the most influencing truths for “movement” in the Christian life has been lost. It is the truth you mentioned about being a universal church. When we as believers and local churches understand that we are a piece of a global work of God then it naturally moves us towards asking; how did I get here and what is my responsibility to others? The universal church is an ever growing body and the local church is not an end but a magnificent part of a whole.

    • You captured well (maybe even better than I) the idea shared in this post. It is amazing where the “universal” piece can push us in our understanding of the very reason and purpose of the community of believers.

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