What is church?
Is it a building? Is it an event on Sunday mornings? Is it a group of people who gather to listen to some guy talk about the bible and then for us to sing songs we don’t know that well and then for us to go our separate ways without thinking about what we have learned?
There was a lady who grew up in England in the early 1900s and church was a part of her everyday life. There were only about a hundred people who attended the church and about fifty of those people were children. The church building was the center of community activity. There were essentially two options in town for places to hang out with friends – the church or the pub. As this dear woman grew older and the culture began to change, less and less children came through the front doors. Eventually the church was only filled with a dozen or so people who were all over the age of fifty.
So begins the book “EVERYDAY CHURCH” by Steve Timmis and Tim Chester.
These two authors go on to talk about the cultural shift resulting in people finding other things to do and ultimately the church became irrelevant to them.
The solution of the Baby Boomers was to create big events with entertainment and programs done with excellence. The result has been many large mega churches being built, which depend on the personality of the pastor or the attractional / entertainment value of the program. But most churches can’t afford to hire enough quality pastors, musicians, artists, etc. to create a church with this kind of excellence. And so the average church finds itself competing against Xbox, NFL Sunday football, sleep, a weekend away, or the mega church down the street.
The problem with the above is that the point of church is lost. When church becomes about the attractional event, then discipleship on a person-to-person level doesn’t happen like it should; and so people learn more from the world and their friends about how to live and deal with problems than they do from Scripture or the pastor or a godly mentor.
Everyday church points us to be just that – a community committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, living it out, and working together within a community of committed believers who are committed to Christ and committed to one another in such a way:
- That they are willing to serve one another.
- That they are willing to lay down personal preferences.
- That they are willing to sacrifice for one another.
- That they are willing to spend time praying with one another.
- That they are willing to spend time confessing sins to one another.
- That they are willing to call each other to obey Scripture.
- That they are willing together to be on mission, sharing the gospel with the world.
These seven points (and many more) are what it means to be a church. You can’t do these seven things without committing to one another and seeing each other more than one day a week. And it is near impossible to do this with more than about a dozen people.
The early church in the time of the Apostles meet in homes. Each house church had a leader called an elder who was responsible for shepherding the people. As each church grew, the elders would reproduce and grow up new elders who would take on shepherding responsibilities and multiple the church.
The early church also had deacons, men and women who had the time and would serve and care for the needs of those who needed nurturing care. They also assisted the elders by doing what the elders didn’t have time to do so that the elders could focus their time on prayer and preaching.
The early church also was a communal affair. Everyone in each house church daily cared for each others needs, daily were involved together in prayer, daily were involved in evangelism. Daily had a deep love for one another like a family.
As the church became institutionalized, this daily care stopped. The professionals took over (in the Roman Catholic Church) and started making lots of money off the people manipulating them into giving money for forgiveness of sins. The average person became an attendee rather than a participate in the life of the church. And so the average person was turned off and many stopped coming to church.
Throughout this time there were different leaders who turned people back to the way of the early church as we read in Scripture. St. Patrick developed a missional community, which worked together to reach the Celtic people of Ireland. John Wesley learned from him and used his method to create congregations (societies), home communities (classes), and accountability groups (bands). The Celtic way and the Methodist way is a biblical way because it does not focus on creating attractional events, but rather attractional and biblical communities.
Here at Grace Church we (the elders and staff) are intentionally trying to become a missional, biblical, gospel community. The sermon series beginning this Sunday is based off of 1 Peter and the book “EVERYDAY CHURCH” by Chester and Timmis.
We (the church) on Sundays are purposing to come together to learn how to become an everyday church.
We (Home Communities) are purposing to come together in a more intimate way to actually live out everyday church principles.
Please join us this fall to learn how to do this will us onto the glory of God.