Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Blood is thicker than holy water."

…And relationships are a stronger bond than mortar.

There is a rhythm to life that cycles around the calendar year and that ebbs and flows with the holidays and school breaks. In Europe, at least, that rhythm is palpable in the cities. Life is busy and the city is bustling with the routines until a school break comes along and then the whole city seems to enter a lethargy where nothing is accomplished, appointments can’t be made, and you might as well hit the pause button on all your plans and activities. That is, unless you are a church. In that case you still hold services even though the vast majority of your people will be gone. You will likely even have a guest preacher in the pulpit because the pastor is gone, but still a service must be held.

That is because traditional church IS the service. It is all about programs being planned and conducted around a building. If the service isn’t held, if the people don’t gather in a building, then the church does not exist. If someone wants to check the church out, if someone wants to consider becoming a part of the church, they must see the service. The service is the beginning and the end of what the church is. It is the “outreach,” the member-care, the source of God’s word to His people, the worship, the everything.

In our network of house churches this past Sunday some of the groups simply didn’t meet. There were groups with people out of town for the break. In some cases a family attended one of the other groups for a change, but many simply didn’t hold services.

And it wasn’t a problem.

See, the organic-simple idea of church is not at all dependent on services. The church exists during the week and in the relationships amongst the people. The outreach is accomplished through the normal channels of relationships throughout the city and Monday through Saturday as well as Sunday. People meet to hold each other up during the week. People are consuming God’s Word alone and in groups of 2 or 3. The Worship and teaching that occurs “in service” is the outflow of what has already happened during the week. Rather than a program or a calendar dictating how relationships develop and grow, the relationships dictate the way the calendar unfolds.

The familial aspect of the church should be stronger than a religious rhythm.

(See also here)

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