Monday, February 12, 2007

What It's Supposed to Be

Food for thought...

For most Christians corporate church life is a Sunday morning worship service and that's all. A smaller percentage add to that a class of some kind, perhaps Sunday morning or Wednesday evening in which there is very little interpersonal ministry. Now don't misunderstand me, I believe in the tremendous value of corporate worship and I believe that solid teaching times are usually crucial for depth and strength. But you simply can't read the New Testament in search of what church life is supposed to be like and come away thinking that Worship services and classes are the sum total of what church was supposed to be.

--John Piper


Combs said...

there's a really good chance that I'm missing it entirely (a really good chance), but you can't spend an entire generation preaching that you have to be in church and then expect people to automaticly assume that there's more to the equation. Honestly you can't the new testament and come up with anything close to what the modern evengelical would call church. the only thing that the two have in common is that we meet. I can't tell if Piper is just bring up the discipleship argument again, or if he's annoyed with the way his church (or more likely the church in general)looks at worship. Then again at the end it sounds like he's angry at people reading the bible then assuming that they know what chruch acutally is.

Amy said...

It's an old sermon of his--something I ran across while looking for something else. If you click the link, you can read the whole manuscript. There's always danger in taking a small chunk out of context.

I think what he's getting at is that we don't do life together. He talks about small groups, but says that even the way we practice that many times is stunted, limited, not what it's supposed to be. In the sermon, he's suggesting that growth and health happen when people pour into each other, life on life, one on one--and that perhaps the reason why we have so many wounded, sick, troubled people in our churches is because we've lost that sense of really being a part of each other's lives.

Make sense? I'm sure that to read the manuscript would be more accurate/thorough than my summary. But that's the gist of it.

Combs said...

It just occured to me: We ask a lot from people, as a church. You have to be involved in the lives of the people at church, then you have to be involved with the live of people outside of church, both intimatly and in a life altering way. You have to be involved with your family, and lead the correctly and train them correctly. Then we have to have a right relationship with God. It's no wonder people get so burnt out. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for relationship. You know I am. It's not even that we're asking God to help us with it, these are things we generaly tell people they have to do on their own.
I'm rambling...I'll stop.

Amy said...


for one thing, I think the idea is that as you're pouring into other people, they're pouring into you. it's not supposed to be just one-sided ministry that burns you out--it's mutual encouragement, helping and serving each other.

for another thing, I think if the motivation is guilt and not love, you will definitely burn out. so often we try to motivate people with "shoulds" and "ought tos"...the whole thing will work a lot better if people catch a vision for the joy and purpose and do it because they love God and love people.

for a third thing, isn't that pretty central to the Christian life--to be a living sacrifice, to spend yourself on behalf of others? heaven forbid we actually ask people to make sacrifices, you know? I think that for all the people who "burn out," you could find a whole lot of other people who would say that real, abundant life and joy only come when you have died to self and are passionately, sacrifically serving God and others.

p.s. I thought one of the benefits of New Blogger was not having to do captchas for comments on your own post. and why do I now suddenly have to log back in every time? grr.

TKB said...

Worship services and classes are definately not what the church ought to be.... the church is the people, the body of Christ. Yes- it is great to have corporate worship whether big or small, size really doesn't matter to God like it does to us. The sincerity of the worshipers and their desire to actually work together to build up the body and serve together probably matters more. This is hard to do in a huge church. Mainstream church life is very complicated... no matter what model. Maybe we need to focus on becoming disciples, and making disciples. Less on worship style,etc... I totally confirm the life on life thing. But something in us feels that is not enough.... But the Kingdom of God is like yeast, it is a small thing that works its way through the whole batch of dough.
props to KBM.... life on life :)

Amy said...

Beth, you guys are doing house church, right? I would love to hear more about how you're experiencing community life with the Body as much richer and more valuable than simply showing up Sunday mornings and not really deeply knowing/serving or being known/served by those you go to church with.

Todd and Micah said...

This is something that we have just discovered in our youth group. Many times, Todd will call up the kids to the alter if they want to get saved or rededicate their lives. He asks them to go into a room and he talks to them as a collective group. But we never really connected with the kids one-on-one. It wasn't something we did on purpose. We just never had enough adult leaders to available to council, so we got into the routine of just praying in a group.

Then we had a group called Master's Commission come in a few weeks ago. When it was time for the alter call, they took the kids back into the room and they prayed with them one-on-one. I never knew our kids could open up like that. We knew we had to make a change.

So last week, we had several adult leaders go back into the room with the kids that needed prayer. The kids were talking and sharing their testimonies; it was amazing! Not only did it help the kids, but it made our adult leaders feel closer to the youth.

As someone who has experienced it first hand, I believe that taking that extra step can make all the difference in the world. It may take us getting out of our comfort zones, but it's worth it in the end.

TKB said...

Hi Amy,
We are no experts for sure, we have been journeying in this for 1 1/2 years.. They call it Organic Church - it actually is different then "house church". We are still detoxing from some of the old operating systems... but wow, it is cool. It is kind of liberating actually. It is neat to see our kids being raised in this kind of church/family. They have already at age 4 been able to lay hands on sick people in prayer, and for commissioning new workers for the Kingdom. They sing and dance to the unprofessional music and sing praise to God with us.
You definately can't hide in the pews, we have lost people come often of many ages. Since our meetings are open- meaning every one shares at some point, it is cool to see the light bulbs come on for the first time, and people asking deep questions about the scriptures. Most missionaries are using this model all over the world. We consider ourselves missionaries of the gospel wherever we are, right now we happen to be in suburbia.
Too much to share right now.