What is the Form and Function of the Church?
A community that is guided by the scriptures.
Without the scriptures, we’d have no direction or compass. Its our family history. It’s gives us a trajectory for our future. When we read the scriptures we read them in community with a missional bent.
A community that is dependent on the Spirit.
Without the dependence on the spirit, the church is merely wasting its time! God sent the son, the son sent the spirit, the sprit sends the church.
A community where people are learning to become disciples of Jesus.
We’re learning to do the things that Jesus would do if he were us.
A community that is incarnational rather than attractional.
If you build it they will come just doesn’t work in post-Christendom.
A community that is driven by the people of God and not driven by top-down leadership.
The problem with professional clergy is that its somehow assumed that the really radical stuff is really only for the pastors and professionals.
A community that is people driven not program driven.
Sure, we have programs and activities but they are only for teh sake of mission and not for the sake of themselves. All too often in institutions, the programs become missions of their own and lose touch with the real mission.
A community that practices the future, i.e. “Hope in Action”
The church as a sign, witness and foretaste of the reign of God. The church must publicly be doing its best to show the world how God designed the world to be.
A community that is interconnected and dependent on each other for formation and for mission.
We don’t speak of the church as a collection of individuals who happen to worship in the same place on Sunday mornings. Rather, its an interconnected community that is “fishing together.”
A community that is contextually counter-cultural:
The fact is, the church always takes place within a specific context. The challenge is therefore to recognize the aspects of the culture that are in line with the God’s reign and which aspects of the culture need to be challenged by the gospel.
And finally, a quote from Lesslie Newbigin, The Open Secret, p.150
“The day-to-day worship and word and witness of the local church has to be developed in relationship to all these in such a way that it becomes credible to the inhabitants to the local culture as a sign, instrument and foretaste of that one universal reign of God that is the true origin and goal of this and every human culture. It must communicate in the idiom of that culture both the divine good that sustains it and the divine purposes that judges it and summons it to become what it is not yet.”