Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Church of the Pumping Heart

One of my huge problems with aspects (or representations) of missionalimage church is its denigration of the local church.   I have been in conversation with a church leader in recent days who continually calls the gathered church “a failed model.” 

When I responded that “it seems to have worked well for 2000 years, he rejected that notion. 

That conversation (several with the same individual actually) were on my mind when I read the following paragraphs by Phillip Fletcher:

A local church is to be the heart of the community in which it resides. The streets are the veins and arteries. We the believers are the blood that carries the oxygen of the Gospel.

Imagine believers simultaneously gathering to worship and send believers throughout their community. It would be a strange thing, a deadly thing to the body not to have a properly functioning heart.

I for one have not seen the church ever settle for “keeping the message within the four walls”.   The church has DONE that at times, but it has always been recognized by healthier members as abnormal and non-biblical.   On the other hand, a “sent” church that has no times of contracting into “body time” is not identifiable as the church. 

Maybe I am tilting at windmills (not improbable, given my history) and it is only a problem in my head.  But the quote, coming on the heels of several conversations with this para-church leader set me off a little. It’s a picture I like and one I will probably use again.


I don’t know anything about Phillip Fletcher, but you can read the entire article that the quote came from here.

1 comment:

daniel said...

cool metaphor. this kind of relates to our short conversation about Christendom in that i think many pastors and leaders have a perspective of the church that lacks nuance. Anything that existed before the "emergent" church movement was a part of Christendom and therefore has failed in the same way Christendom has. That's just simply untrue. There are many churches who gather every sunday to partake in communion that have become civil religions and lost their "saltiness" (including many hip po-mo communities!) but there are many who have not.

I can go on and on about this so i'll just end with one more observation. It's interesting to hear the language leaders from the missional/emergent church use. They lean heavily on words like "models" and yet try to maintain a rejection of any sort of "right formula" for doing church. It seems to me that they have created their own formula by comparing models. The local church does not use our model and therefore it's a "failed" model. In reality, it's the same thing their predecessors did only with different labels and locations.

all of this coming from someone living in a neo-monastic community in new orleans :).

Visits Since Dec. 11, 2007