Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Reality Reversal

In having a conversation with a friend of mine last night, I stumbled upon a concept that I feel needs some more discussion. We were discussing his current church situation. He moved to a new town, and like most of us, misses the "old days" and his previous church. I told him I understood. His grievance with his new place of worship was one based more in structure and theology, but it is the best place out of the choices he has available. He knows that we have started our organic church and I was sharing with what we've been doing and going though and trying to encourage him as best I could from several thousands of miles away.

... and then it happened...

As it does so often with me, because I love to spew words out of my mouth, I said something that I had never said before, that I really liked! I started to expound on it a bit, and found a missing piece of the puzzle for the book that I am trying to write. Here it is... (at least what I've found so far)

Faith in Christ is meant to be grown individually
and celebrated corporately, not the other way around.

We believe we have lost either sight or touch of this in the modern paradigm of the corporate church. Individuals are brought in and made into church members, then are been plugged into a system that tries to help them grow through different programs and classes. Living in our instant satisfaction drive-thru-like society, it's not surprise that people expect instant church as well. They want to go to a church, sit down, worship, listen to a sermon, give an offering (often begrudgingly) and have some type of instant spiritual growth or experience... and dare I say, in the absence of a true one, we have conditioned ourselves to "experience" one anyway.

However, the reality is you can not force anything natural to grow faster that it is created to without adding some kind of chemical or additive to force things to move alsong quicker that it is meant to. These "growth hormones" usually end up causing differences in the end product in some way. Yes, it may last on the shelf longer, but it isn't the same as the natural product that it is meant to be.

Our modern church systems and "models" are all built on programs designed to artificially grow and sustain faith. Outside of the "church" and it's supporting systems, many Christians don't know how to exercise their faith in real life. Because they were never taught or grown on their own, free of the system, they are just a product of a passive system that keeps them "plugged" into the matrix that is the corporate church.This is a HUGE disconnect and I believe why we have begun to associate things as "church" and "non-church". The faith that once was so fluid and transparent has now become more rigid and regulated... and then we wonder why we don't see the evidence like in the days of the early church.

We must re-train ourselves that when we gather with our fellow Christians, it's not to grow as much as to celebrate our faith and our Savior with the congregation of believers. The natural growth and byproducts of faith need to be happening daily... even hourly throughout the course of our lives. If we do not stop and take a look at the state of our faith and His church, we may well be stuck in this reversal of reality.

Faith in Christ is meant to be grown individually
and celebrated corporately, not the other way around.

1 comment:

Jeff Reams said...

Well said Bill. I think you're right on with this. I know this in my own traditional church context big time.