Church has to be more than just programs, strategem, cell groups, and services.
If being the church is an idea that resonates with new testament christian spirituality [more so than attending a church, that is], then we truly must reinvent our own understanding of what a church is and how we’re supposed to be a part of it.
To this end, I’d like to advocate another paradigm – it’s what I call ‘guerilla ecclesiology.’
Guerillas are freedom fighters who attack without warning from hidden places. Images of the sandinistas or Che Guevara come immediately to mind, and – without validating the specific political and ethical connotations of such people – I think guerilla warfare is an accesible way for us to understand “church” and the spiritual contest in which we live. Church isn’t something that happens on the weekend – even though we attend a church, typically on the weekend – church is a revolution of the faith and spirit and culture that lives in every Christ-follower all of the time and erupts in surprising ways through acts of mercy and charity.
Guerilla ecclesiology means we allow ourselves to act as agents of God all of the time, independant of corporate gatherings and representative of community. It means we bring the kingdom with us, like servants or ushers, and exhale it in common, human conditions.
We welcome God into our lives, just as He has welcomed us into life.
For our church this means that – instead of an intricate plan to somehow “evangelize the world” and “save the lost” – we’re advocating a different vision.
You are the vision.
You are the plan, you are the team, and you are the leader in the community effort to bring the gospel to the people you know. You are now both the target market and the liason, the entrepreneur and the captain because you are – also – the church.
Do you get it? “We” will still make plans and do large things together; but, “you” are really the bread-and-butter of what matters. We will value community connections and the kind of bump-up participation that cell ministries and youth groups and music teams and discussion groups foster, but we will also value you and the network of your friends and connections following Jesus and seeking His specific input into your daily life.
So, be the church in your limbs and speech and in your conversations all day long, in every way, on playgrounds and at work, in classrooms and in the mirror, and ask yourself what the church should be doing to demonstrate the love of God.
and then do it, church.