There is this big word that Seminaries, Bible Colleges & Senior Pastors throw around. The word is Ecclesiology & it is theology as applied to the nature and structure of the Christian Church.
I think the reason ecclesiology is talked about is because there is this overwhelming desire to create nuanced differences in churches as well as a compatibility to their local settings. There is this drive to try to create a space where church is pleasant, interactive, friendly, inviting, warm, etc. We hear these words in staff meetings, lecture halls & church staff's work hard at attempting to build a space where people can have positive interactions with a faith conversation & people of faith who are devoted to Jesus.
But have we forgotten a few things as church leaders that we need reminded of?
- People come from all walks of life. People today mimic the diversity of even the 12 disciples who shared life with Jesus. Mutual compatibility is a farse in our world. Even the disciples argued amongst themselves over the message & interaction of Jesus. Would it be any different today? Is everyone always going to agree with every nook & cranny of church ministry?
- For many the desire to huddle on fear is what creates their church comfort. The desire to "get away from the world" & "live Godly lives" is in their language. But if all of that stems from a fear over the world around them is the gathering really church the way Jesus established it?
- Church can't be about meeting a "lovers" need. There is no possible way a building, grouping of people, program elements of a worship service and the human element of people interacting will fill the void of emotional despair of individuals. Impersonal will happen & feelings will be hurt. If you think other wise, you'll be wounded and it'll be because of your own expectations not being met.
- Jesus needs to always be the focus in every circumstance. Jesus died between two criminals. He didn't shy away from conversation with people who deserved punishment, neither should we. We cannot forget those around us who don't "fit in" or "look/act/talk like us"...if we do then we shouldn't bother gathering together in Jesus name.
For me these few nuggets of thought remind me the church isn't perfect and flaws will occur. If we get mis-aligned at what we are supposed to be doing with our church gatherings & the motives in which we gather aren't central to the message of Jesus then we may be wasting our time.
I wonder if church should show to everyone who walks through the door a bit more brokenness, frailty & humbly leaning on Jesus what that would do for the global & local reputation of the church?