I’m studying movements and I was trying to process why it seems so hard to see legitimate movements in America. One thought I do have: I don’t think we will truly see movements happen until we demand more from the average church-goer. Here is what I mean by that statement:
Most churches see themselves as a place to connect the unchurched & dechurched or they are gathering believers. It’s easy to become “strategy” driven, which if we’re not careful, we will build a core of people based on modern-day business practices and not biblical principles. This can easily become anti-gospel, because we don’t call people to fullly live out their faith, pick up the cross and follow Jesus. Instead, we try to convince them we have a “cool” gathering, great facilities, clean kids rooms, and practical teachings, etc.
What the world ends up seeing is a bunch of Christians who don’t fully live out their faith. Now, of course we need to be practical and deeply care for some of the above mentioned issues. But, we also need to have a higher level of requirement of those who attend our church. We need to see our people move from seeker to full-fledged-Christ-follower. We need to see them ask different questions, not “what can I get from the church,” rather, “what can I give to the local church.” These church-goers need to somehow embrace the reality that they are now missionaries and the church is a place to gather and send, not just listen and learn. Christians can’t continue to look for the church to meet all their spiritual needs, they must learn the art of self-feeding and Spirit-led living; while they are on mission for God and doing life with other believers. The gathering has its place, but its “secondary” not “primary.” Primary is loving God and serving our world through our God-given skills, passions, gifts and desires! A missionary can’t just hang-out with other missionaries, eventually we leave our place of comfort and go to a place where God has called us to be “light” and to do “good” works so we can “glorify” God and allow the local community to see Jesus’ love through our service and sacrifice. Imagine how life would be if the Apostles had stayed together and never went out to fulfill their calling?
We need to build authentic community that is based on Biblical expressions that can deeply shape our local church experiences. As we all “become” the church in our natural domains, and “trust” the Spirit to lead and guide each believer. Maybe we can see a momentum shift on how we look at the Church and we will have greater expectations for the average church-goer. And our Gathering’s can become a place where missionaries come together once a week to worship and pray before they go back into the mission field.
PS: I’m not anti strategy. I think strategy had an important place in the process.