I recognize that one of the more difficult aspects of talking about how and what church is about involves trying to undo centuries of tradition, preconceived notions, and (sometimes) wrong theology. I read something online recently that was attacking and accusatory towards the church, but many of the points brought up were certainly legitimate. In an effort to set the stage for this series, I thought I would write my own 'top ten list' as to 'What Church Is Not':
1. It is not a building.
2. It is not about 'me.' (to quote Rick Warren in The Purpose Driven Life).
3. It is not about adhering to and following a religion.
4. It is not something that you can do by yourself.
5. It is not something that man created (it was God's idea!--even though we sometimes do a pretty good job of claiming partial credit).
6. It is not something that can only happen on Sundays (usually in the morning).
7. It is not only about the church service.
8. It is not about the programs, the music, the preaching style, or the pastor.
9. It is not something the world must attend if they're going to hear about Jesus.
10. It is not something a follower of Christ can consider optional.
11. It is not something that is about denominations, constitutions, or organized institutions. (Sorry, I lied about only 10).
I'm sure we all have more items to add to this list (I know I certainly do). However, you get the point. We sometimes paint a picture of 'what church is' based upon all we've ever known and experienced.
Someone once said, "If the Holy Spirit left your church, would you even notice--or would your programs and activities continue on as usual?" Ouch! I know I want to be a part of a group of people diligently seeking after God and His Kingdom--and when we hear His voice, we respond to it. I'm looking forward to a fresh look at 'What Church Is.'
(If you want to be notified of future blog postings, friend me on Facebook 'John Schmidt'. Also, my recent sermons in both an audio and video format can be found at www.NVbridgechurch.com.)