Re-visioning. Not revising. Not changing, so much as looking at it again and seeing what works and what doesn’t.
Jesus has to be the center of it. Not a minister. Not a “worship team”. Not the building. If Jesus isn’t the cornerstone, then it isn’t church. It is a façade.
Church isn’t the building – it is the people. It is the people that Jesus came for, that Jesus died for.
So how do we re-vision church? First, read the Gospels. Read what Jesus said. Look at what he did. Then look at what is happening in your church community if you have one. How closely does it adhere to that message?
It is time to strip everything away that isn’t Jesus. Any policy, any program, any activity that isn’t in line with Jesus’ message, strip it out. This leaves more room for actual work.
In the past two thousand years we’ve put so much into the idea of “Church” that we’ve often misplaced Jesus along the way. I think we’ve started to worship the idea of Jesus more than actually follow him.
Our job is to do the work of Jesus in the world. We have to heal, to reconcile, and to love.
Any church organization that is run like a business has gotten off track. Jesus didn’t do this. Why do we make it harder than it has to be?
I think the problem is that we think it has to be harder than it is, so we’ve put more into it. The “car” that is Christianity was really streamlined. We’ve put so much stuff in it and on it that it hardly goes anymore.
It is more common these days that “Christian” is equated with intolerance than love. That alone is a sign that we’ve gotten it wrong.
Jesus tells us in John 15:1-8
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. 2 Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. 6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.
This is our template – we have to abide in Jesus if we are going to be Christians. Otherwise we are just “playing church” and not Being the Church.