The Church as Institution, Day Two

   Ken, I was writing about something else when your thought penetrated here. I don’t know if I have a series in me just now but I do have way too many thoughts on most subjects. I just lectured in sociology and comparative religions in a class at HPU for the afternoon. I may have imparted a little too much information but I have been invited back, so…

The Church As Institution, Day Two

   I did not mention yesterday this one smoldering fact about institutional churches. That is, after a time, they may simply not be able to meet the vital ministry need just around them.

   Que es la verdad, hermano?

   At the moment one realizes she attends church in a neighborhood where she cannot go into a convenience store, an underlying question intrudes. That is, "Just what is a local congregation?"

   There is a difference between unable and unwilling, first. I am willing to stuff a basketball over a seven footer down on the blocks with either hand. I am willing to "posterize" the defender.

   I am just not able.

   So, don’t put me on the court to play.

   Now, what if I am able but unwilling? Do you remember, a few years ago, when Scottie Pippen would not reenter a one point game, with his team behind, because the coach did not draw the play up for him to be the primary shooter? The whole world of pro basketball fans let him have it; all that ability, all that training, all that money and he won’t go in the game?

  Every congregation can look at what it can do and get in the game.

   What if a local congregation is both unable to the task and unwilling either to retool or to send in an able player? This is a recipe for a losing team.

   Then, what is a local congregation when the locale changes so much the congregation cannot recognize it? The institutional church can still be a congregation. It just may not be local anymore.

   That is, if the church is the congregation, not the buildings.

   So, go city-wide or regional or around the world. Do not do this just through surrogates. Do it yourself. Take your whole congregation, man, woman, child and get out on the streets where you can be effective.

   I have to close for today but let me add this thought. What is a church’s real identity? Spare the spiritualizing. A church is really what it can do with enthusiasm.

1 thought on “The Church as Institution, Day Two”

  1. When Jesus started the movement that became the Church it was never about hang around and wait for those who are lost to come and check you out. It was always about seeking, serving, and going so that disciples could be made. There has become a level of comfort in the institutional church in doing things the way we’ve always done them, that has prevented us from reaching the next generation, which is not interested in coming in to check things out. If we do not do the seeking, serving, and going, we could loose a generation. Our culture is a culture filled with visual learners. What you say must be followed with how you live? They must see the proof of what we preach. I am in agreement, where else can this take place other than the market place, at school, and in the home. I have always understood and believed that the Church is the body of believers but over the years it is becoming more and more real to me that the Church is to be the Church Monday through Saturday, and meet together on Sunday to recharge and go again.

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