Friday, October 26, 2007

What if we're wrong?

What if the way we do church is wrong? This question struck me the other day as I read Ephesians 4:11-13

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

It seems as if the systems and practices in most churches don't really allow for this. It seems most churches don't really EQUIP God's people to do His work and to build up the church. Most churches are designed for the apostles, the prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to do God's work and build up the church. Sure, we "allow" people to volunteer by ushering, singing, doing youth ministry, children's ministry,etc - but is that fullness of "God's work and building up the church?" It appears the only vehicle churches offer to let others do "God's work and build up the church" is the vehicle of small groups. But what if you're not a small group leader? What if your church doesn't even offer small groups, then what?

I'm not saying I have the answers or that I've even fully explored the issue, but it seems as if our church system is flawed. It seems we look to create cultures and systems that empower church leaders and minimizes the power of the entire flock by midigating "service" to volunteering at church. Is there more? Do we have it wrong?

How do we really equip and empower people to do God's work BEYOND a Sunday morning experience? How does doing God's work translate to Monday morning? And is that summarized by "Friendship evangelism" or is there more? Sure, the church is the living expression (or it least its supposed to be) of the hope of the world - Jesus Christ. God placed the responsibility of building up that church not in the hands of the "ministry gifts" but in the hands of people who have other gifts outside of those referenced in Ephesians. I guess maybe we have to clearly define what God's work is. Making disciples is not just the job of the local church, its the job of EVERY believer. Jesus didn't want pastors making disciples, He wants DISCIPLES making DISCIPLES. The local church does a decent job and teaching people methods to reach the people they know, but what are we doing to equip people to do the work of making disciples?

Maybe I'm dead wrong and I'm just not seeing it. Or maybe, we're missing it. Maybe our systems support our leaders and not empower our congregations.

What do you think? What, if anything, can we do differently?

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