I would like to introduce you to Jon. Jon is a brother who has been on this church journey with me for a while. He helps me put words to my thoughts, he teaches me to give and not just receive and he reminds when it’s Flag Day. Today is Flag Day here in the states, it’s also Jon’s birthday.
Yesterday Jon and I were chatting and he sent me a message he had sent to a friend. I thought it was a great explanation of our last two years together. So I’ll leave you to it. Enjoy and maybe stop by Jon’s blog and say Happy Birthday if you get the chance.
I read your facebook status this morning… I understand your frustrations and I agree that church can and should be more than it is usually made. I would be interested in talking with you about this as my journey has led me to something that I think contains all that you are looking for…and quite more.
If you want to give it a name it has been labeled organic church (but there are a lot of people who use that label to mean different things). We mean a church that is birthed by Christ (not by people), in which he brings a group of people together who are learning to live by the indwelling life of Christ in community. We believe that church is not a place you go or a thing you do, is what you are…24/7. Whether we are at work, at home, having lunch with a brother or sister in the body, or meeting as a group, we are the church. And we are a family. We don’t believe in a clergy/laity split. We believe we are all priests and that Christ is the head and we are the body. We don’t believe in the offices of the pastor, elder, or deacons, meaning we don’t believe people are employed in this position or voted into this position. Instead, we believe these are functions (pastor = shepharding, elder = wise person in the faith) that anyone in the body can perform when Jesus wants them to and He will raise up someone when necessary and the next time maybe it is someone else. We believe that we are all leaders and that Jesus will raise up who He wants to lead in a certain endevor and then next time someone else. It all ebbs and flows based on Him being the head and determining what he wants his body to do.
The downside is that there aren’t a lot of people doing what we are doing. We know of a handful of groups across the US (and few more in other parts of the world), but that is it. That is not to say others are doing something similar, but because it is not easy, requires a lot of dying to self, and being comletely transparent with a small group of people, there just aren’t a lot of people willing to do it. But, we are also not the first. There have been groups since the 1st century doing this, again, they have just always been the minority and usually have been highly persecuted by the institutional church for that they were doing.
I know this all may sound crazy and heretical and nuts, but, it is the most beautiful thing I have seen and been a part of…ever. Look, I’ve been to seminary, lived as a missionary overseas, worked for a church, yadda yadda, and this makes more sense than any of that. It puts answers to questions I’ve always wondered about the church but was never allowed to ask or were brushed aside.
But above all, it is bout learning to live by His life that is inside us and that he is big enough to lead his church and that 40 people can come together and hear is mind and voice and be in agreement as to what he wants us to do. I have seen more of Christ in the last 2 years than in my entire life. It is about love. Non-judging love. We also believe that we are saints (as Paul referred to the many believers in the churches he wrote to). Yes, we were sinners in the past, but our belief in Christ has transformed us. Christ is our life and he lives in us. Yes, we may still sin, because of our flesh, but we are not sinners, we are just those that sin (and there is a big difference). Living from the perspective you are a sinner means you always need to be doing more, better, becomming something else. Living from being a saint, means you are already there because of Christ and now you are just living out of Christ’s life. And there is so much freedom in what we are doing. Galations type of freedom. We fully believe in the fact that the law has been fulfilled, there is no more old covenent of laws, rules, do’s and don’ts. We believe we are all free in Christ and Christ can lead us in what to do and not do.
We believe that there were two trees in the garden (look it up, it’s there). The tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They were told they could eat from the tree of life, which is Christ and if they had done so he would have been their life and shown them how to live. But instead they chose knowledge of good and evil, ie, rules and knowledge of what to do and not to do. You can’t have both. You either have Christ or you have human knowledge of morals. It’s a choice.
If you guys want to know more, let me know. We can talk over the phone or I can point you to some books that people who have been doing this for a long time have written. And if it this sounds nuts, no problem. I’m not offended. It’s not for everyone.