Meditations (Web)Church

A year (and a bit) in the life of NewSpring's first Web pastor

Is community more broken than we think?

with 3 comments

Eastern Orthodoxy sees the church as “truly the Ark in which mankind may be saved from the flood of corruption and sin.”

It’s more than just a family. It’s literally the “mothership.” It’s actually part of the design and construction of Eastern Orthodox churches to have the long, tall building resemble a ship, “journeying towards the kingdom with Christ at the helm.”

As the “always reforming” New Calvinists like Matt Chandler and Mark Driscoll make bold moves in redefining how we view belonging to a church and being the church, I think even Protestants are moving to a higher view of Christian community.

But it strikes me that the “weak link” is how difficult deep fellowship appears to be, the kind of abounding “love for each other and for all” that Paul describes in 1 Thessalonians as pre-requisite for being “blameless in holiness.”

How do we get along with, live alongside and love our brothers and sisters in Christ? Not very well, if you consider the common complaints in every church.

The response to Perry Noble’s preaching this Sunday on “judging others” touched a lot of raw nerves, for sure. And Ed Stetzer’s Lifeway research found that “not feeling connected to the people in my church,” ranks as one of the Top 10 reasons that 18-22 year olds leave the church.

I’ve spent a lot of time defending the potential for online “community.” But it seems to me that those critiquing the shallowness of the fellowship shouldn’t be throwing stones.

I think a Jewish teacher put it well in drawing analogy about seeing the speck of sawdust in another’s eye and missing the plank in one’s own eye.

The question is not: which methods do we use to fellowship?

The question is: how does the church lead its people in fellowship? The kind of fellowship that is apparently not only a great witness but also fundamental to keeping Christians afloat in the Christian life?

Isn’t it time we moved beyond concerns or fears about holy huddles and koombayas?

What say you?

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Written by NickCharalambous

July 14, 2009 at 10:03 am

Posted in evangelism, ruminations

3 Responses

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  1. Its always easier to discuss whats broken, than propose and execute ways to fix it. Its even easier to critique whats wrong in someone else’s life and/or ministry rather than move toward perfecting your own relationship with the Lord.

    Have you ever read Gordan MacDonald’s “Who Stole My Church”? It details the general challenges of every single age group in dealing with change, for a fictional church somewhere in New England. Although he puts it in 21st century terms, I would suggest that the challenges he details are not unique to our time and place or even evangelicalism specifically.

    I look forward to where this discussion goes…

    Daniel Berman

    July 15, 2009 at 1:11 am

    • Agreed. I prefer to have solutions rather than endless critiques, but it does seem at times as though the church has settled for real, deep, authentic, loving relationships being too hard and not realistic … and yet scripture doesn’t let us off that hook. To make matters worse, the fear of creating insular Christians – or kooks – who don’t care about the outside world has made it hard to talk about.

      ipiphanist

      July 15, 2009 at 8:32 am

  2. […] of its naivety. Some is no longer relevant given the changing online environment. But I believe some of what I wrote may have been written with prophetic force that may remain useful to church leaders […]


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