Everyone recognizes the need for more intimate relationships in the church. The command and desire for believers to love and serve one another is glaring. Our deepest longing as a new creature in Christ is to have fellowship with our Triune God and with His family. So we set out in the best way we know how to make it happen.
Some are trying to improve this through sermons, teachings and programs. They begin where they are and work hard to expose the issues and promote ideas that they believe will bring everyone into that intimate fellowship. With patience, grace and perserverence they toil with all their might no matter how long it takes.
Others see the system itself with it's paid pastors and passive laity as part of the problem so they set out to do church differently. They let go of the structures and comfort of organized christianity and set out to begin with relationships and build from there. Simple is the key word for them because relationships and fellowship are what matter most.
Okay Bobby, la-dee-dah, where are you going?
I wonder: since there are so many who love the present church system and the need for prioritizing relationships with God and one another is so great, is it possible for them to have their cake and eat it too? Even if you, like me, think that the system "as is" gets in the way of intimacy among the Body, is it possible to begin simply with relationships and eventually have a larger, more familiar type of gathering as a way of meeting people where they are and still keep the simplicity of relationships central?
Think of it as a way for a simple church minded gathering to be incarnational to those who are comfortable with traditional church. If you start with relationships and build up, reaching out in every way you know how including using the means of a more traditional type of Sunday service, is it inevitable that you will become another institution? When the indwelling organic life of Christ is the focus and bond of the gathering, isn't it feasable that newcomers who are more attracted to the anonymity and comfort of a traditional setting will be drawn to the simpler house-to-house gatherings where the real growth takes place as they long for more of Christ? Wouldn't the sermonized preaching approach be a great evangelistic tool to reach the many who are very religious but unregenerate?
I don't have all the answers, these are some things that are spinning around in my thoughts this morning. What do you think?