Saturday, 8 January 2011

Talking about a revolution

'Don't you know, Im talking about a revolution, it sounds like a whisper..'- Tracy Chapman

I've been thinking a lot about church recently and how so often it has turned into a meeting. It is something we go to, we have legalistic types who have invented dresscodes for church and other pieces of nonesense. We have more modernisers trying to turn the idea of church into a disco with better lights, smoke machines and kickass bands- they say they are just 'doing church differently.'

God never called us to do church. Never. He called us to be the church. My Pastor recently said something along the lines of when we be the church the kingdom of God is built, but when we do church people just get left out. And it is so true.

If we are the church then it cant have dresscodes, it cant have lights- it can just have people.

I'm not saying we dont have buildings- The early church met in the temple for large meetings but they done so for convenience. The Church building is not God's house it is just a rain shelter. God lives in the Church- The Christians.

So how do we be the church?

We must meet up with fellow christians as often as possible, preferablly daily. We must give to the poor and needy. (Acts 2:44-47)

We must preach the gospel to eachother and to others (Mark 16:15) - This is where our sunday meetings come in. They are to equip the church. Not to be the church. If you aren't gonna be Gods church during the week, then don't come in to learn how to on a sunday- you are wasting your time, and think twice about taking communion.

We must be loving but disciplined. (Ephesians 5:2-5)

We must pray always- (1 Thessalonians 5:17) the 24/7 prayer movement has been awakening a passion for prayer in many of our churches.

We must take part in social action-( James 2:26)

And we can dream big, knowing God is in control and can do more than we could ever dream.

Now imagine if we got this, if we each as christians. as the church acted like the Church. The Underground church in China are doing it... Christians in the Middle East are, I have read books of communities in America living this out, And have spoken to many people here in little Northern Ireland about it and they feel the same. Little pockets of real, raw body of Christ church is springing up. Its up to you to join them... remember we are the church... Talking about a revolution, it sounds like a whisper....


  1. Thanks Mark for your thoughts. A couple of questions...

    you recommend preferably meeting daily with you think this is possible (and if so, how) in many societies? For many there aren't many believers close by, and for many with the pressures of work,making time for family is tricky enough, nevermind other believers anywhere near daily.

    Could you expand on why communion should be perhaps withdrawn b/c someone doesn't understand the concept of being church?

    And I guess finally, when this model of church has been demonstrated and written about by endless theologians down through the centuries (Calvin, Luther, Pink, Tozer etc etc I'd actually struggle to find many that haven't joined with you in this vision), yet you see it as something that is happening only in small parts of the world, I struggle to understand what other churches are doing wrong? The vast majority of evangelical churches in NI and Eng that i know of seem to be doing exactly as you outline above. Or is there something I'm missing? Albeit they're all wracked with sin and aren't doing diff bits of it as well as we could, but that applies to every church.

    But thanks again for your call to keep reforming the church - good to be reminded :)
    Hope all's well with you!

  2. Hey,
    Yea I do think it is possible to meet with fellow believers regurally, if not daily in the context we live (Northern Ireland) everybody lives in a 2hour maximum distance from everyone, there are groups of christians in every town and village. I know that family and work can add pressure and consume time, but I think if we are honest most people find time to watch soaps, go out for coffee etc, which is fine but surely time spent in fellowship encouraging other believers and actually trying to be God's church should come first?

    In regards to communion, I was trying to say if we are not willing to be the body of Christ, then it is but empty ritual to partake of it.

    And then to your final question, you say 'the vast majority of evangelical churches..' that is not what I am writing about. Yes most churches give to the poor, but do most of us as christians, as the church look after the poor in our towns? I know most churches pray regurally, but do we as christians, as the church often meet up with our friends and weep over our lost friedns, our friends from work and uni? I am not writing about the local church as in individual congregations, I am addressing the whole church. I go to emmanuel in Lurgan, but I shouldnt just say they help the poor- i just give my change, they pray weekly- and sometimes I go. This is about us all living it out!

    hope that was helpful


  3. I really appreciate your post for several reasons:

    I like how you compare legalistic people to modernisers. They're both wrong, the should instead try to be "real, raw body of Christ" people.

    I like what you said about observing the Lord's Supper, we should make sure we're not being like the Corinthians: "When you come together, it is not the Lord's supper that you eat." (1 Corinthians 11:20 ESV) Because of their selfish elitism, when the Corinthians observed the Lord's Supper they were not rightly representing the sacrificial death of Christ and the true character of the Lord.

    I really like the line "we must be loving but disciplined" that should be written in every church's constitution.

    I like what Francis Chan says about reforming the church: "Christians are like manure: spread them out and they help everything grow better, but keep them in one big pile and they stink horribly." (Francis Chan) Let me know what you think about this:

  4. Cheers Mark,
    Sorry for the continued question...just wanting to hear thoughts and throw ideas around to learn from, if you don't mind me using this to do so!

    Can true fellowship and being church not be had over watching a soap (enagaging with it and delighting in seeing Christ in it and pointing him to others?) or going out for coffee to encourage others? ie engaging with creation. Or is it not a case of a dichotomy, but of priority in your mind?

    Thanks for clarifying the other stuff earlier too! And cheers for the thought provoking stuff.