What is church? According to our friend Keith Giles, author of Jesus Unveiled: Forsaking Church As We Know It To Experience Ekklesia As God Intended, and our guest last night on our BlogTalkRadio show, an unbiased, unindoctrinated observer of the most popular churches today might easily come away with the idea that church is little more than a rock concert followed by a TED talk. Now that might satisfy lots of folks, and a steady diet of that might be what most people want out of church — a hip, fun experience that fulfills the idea that they have paid attention to their spiritual life by getting themselves together and going to “church” once a week, but that isn’t doing it for me, and I think also for a growing number of people, especially millennials, who are looking for something different, more personal, and more meaningful than this.
The clearest way to cut through the stage fog here is to remind ourselves that church is not a building, or a program, or an institution, or a show, or a corporation with a staff and a budget, but a living, organic body of believers, and where two or three of these people are gathered together, Jesus is there in their midst. The church is people, and the church is us.
Keith Giles’ rendering of church, over which he wrote this book, is a small gathering of believers in his home twice a week. For about half the time they take seriously the fact that Jesus is in the room and they focus only on Him.
As Keith said, “If you and I were talking and suddenly Jesus showed up in the flesh, we would probably stop talking.” Yes, undoubtedly so; we would pay attention to Him. So that’s what they do for half of their church time, they talk to Jesus, bring him gifts, sing to him, or maybe just be silent before Him. For the rest of the time, they talk to each other by bringing things to share with the group. Each one comes prepared to share something. It’s unplanned. It’s organic. It takes seriously the presence of Christ. It relies on everyone’s giftedness in the body. It takes seriously the fact that all are ministers of the gospel. This is church, as much as any official service in a dedicated church building — perhaps more so. It’s what, according to research, more and more people are now experiencing as church. However we experience it, we will come to the conclusion that we have met the church, and the Churches “R” Us.
FYI: I am not a theologian, nor a author of a book on churches. However, I take exception with the gross generalization about church not being church if it is “little more than a rock concert followed by a TED talk”. Perhaps I am not your target audience, but when i surround myself with other believers seeking God, wherever and however that may be, I believe I am in “church”.
Excuse me J, I could be wrong I often am, yet I don’t think Pastor John meant that small part of the Catch the one sentences you quoted is his definition of the Church either… and my friend we @ the Catch family don’t care if you do or don’t fit into the “target” audience, if you’re human & seeking a better relationship with God – We welcome you!
PS believe me, I often quoted one sentence from the Catch and miss categorized it… Yet after thinking, praying reading & Pastor John’s & others remarks come to find myself in error… Not that you are.. Just talking about myself my brother & Catch friend…
It was purposely a gross generalization. I was saying that someone could come away with that conclusion if that’s all they have experienced of church. Most of the mega churches that may have this format on Sundays or Saturday nights also have small groups meeting in people’s homes during the week where the real experience of being with a body of believers takes place. I would say that if someone’s only experience of church is a big performance-oriented service on the weekend they are experiencing a very small part of what church really is.
Agree: “…church is not a building, or a program, or an institution, or a show, or a corporation with a staff and a budget, but a living, organic body of believers…”
Amen Pastor John! That is what the Lord has been speaking to me about for months and I have finally acted on it – a small group gathering in our home to share, to learn, to question, to pray, to support each other as we follow Jesus. Those He led me to invite come from as varied a background of churches and church service formats you could find, yet all of them feel there is much more to ‘church’ than what is offered and they are hungry for whatever ‘it’ is. I believe it’s Jesus, no more, no less. Worship doesn’t just happen in a church building…it is everything we do as we as we live out our lives.
First off, I don’t go to church. It would be easy for me to put down church services. Instead let me say that yesterday we discussed how a corny outdated song can have a beautiful spiritual message if we choose to hear it that way. Therefor a “rock concert” on sunday morning can have the same effect if it is received that way. And a “TED” talk is only wrong if it’s message is not in line with what Jesus taught. I think what Keith Giles is doing in his home is a wonderful thing but let’s not say that the foot is not part of the body because it is not a hand.
Good point well-stated. But I will repeat if someone’s only experience of “church” is one of those services once a week, they are getting a very small part of what church is.