I am about to ask one of the most dangerous questions I could ever ask. This question was asked of me a few weeks ago and the answer has been a heavy burden on my spirit ever since. Are you ready? Here goes – hope you’re holding on tight.
What would church look like if all we started with was the Bible?
Did you just feel the earth shake? I sure did. Maybe you missed the significance of the question. Let me help you by stripping away everything that you may not remember to strip away. Proud to be a Baptist? Good, let’s start here.
If we started with the Bible and nothing else, then we wouldn’t have denominational structure or division. We would derive our beliefs and doctrines from the Bible, not an approved statement of faith. We wouldn’t have denominational meetings or denominational support. You no longer go to a Baptist church, you go to the church.
Like your church building? I sure do! Too bad though – because we’ll need to put that aside for now. The Bible doesn’t give architectural plans for church houses, just house churches. If you’ve got the biggest house in our congregation, get ready – we’ll be over in just a bit for worship! That’s not to say that we wouldn’t eventually build a place to meet, but we definitely wouldn’t start there.
What else? Let’s take away Sunday School, youth ministry, children’s ministry, women’s ministry, men’s ministry, senior adult ministry etc., and replace those groups with a more intentional discipleship strategy, perhaps like that of Jesus, where he took a small group of men and spent three intensive years with them and then sent them out to do likewise.
We most certainly wouldn’t say, “We’ve always done it this way,” because we no longer have our traditions and quirks. We only have the Bible. One more thing – this modern idea of 20% of the people doing 80% of the work. You can kiss that goodbye. This concept is not in the Bible. The only biblical concept about shared responsibility is that everyone has a part. Bumps on logs are simply not Biblical.
I told you it was a dangerous question. What does the answer mean though?
There is a buzz word flying around right now called “reform.” Everybody is reforming. We have healthcare reform, immigration reform, government reform, tax reform, blah blah blah. From the standpoint of this citizen, the only reform I’m interested in is the reform that gets our government back in line with the US Constitution.
But what about the church? What would happen if we were to take a closer look at our founding document (the Bible) and see what reforms might be needed to get us more in line with the intentions of our founding Father? For the next six weeks, I will be considering the idea of “REFORM” in a sermon series titled likewise. In this series I will be asking this very challenging question, “What might we need to do to ensure that our church is exactly as the Bible expects it to be?” Obviously, we can’t go back and “start over” but we can take a careful look at where we are today in order to determine what we need to do to become the church God wants us to be tomorrow.
I want your help in this. There is a box sitting on the stage called the “REFORM” box. Write down your ideas about things we can do to ensure that our church is more pleasing to God.