Have you ever tried to “start” a Christian? Most people would scoff at the very notion, and rightly so, because everyone knows you can’t just go out and make someone into a believer. The transformation of an individual from the inside out is entirely a work of the Spirit. Like Jesus said, it’s a matter of being “born”, not of the flesh or the will of man, but of the Spirit. The Spirit of God gets inside a person and fuses the eternal life of Jesus Christ into that person’s spirit, thus effecting that glorious inward work which scholars like to refer to as regeneration.
We all know this is true for the individual, so why in the world do we look at it any differently in regards to the church? I say it’s because we evangelicals have little to no conception of the organic nature of the church. In theory we profess that the church is “not an organization but an organism,” but too often our practice betrays us. The sad fact of the matter is we know too little about this glorious woman who stands at the very center of our Lord’s eternal purpose.
A congregation of any old sort cannot truly be referred to as a church. Take it for what it‘s worth to you, but that is my opinion on the matter. We have made the church-and consequently the church life-out to be something far too cheap and easy to come by than what deserves to be said of this great treasure the Lord Jesus died to obtain. The local, corporate expression of Jesus Christ must be born, just as the individual Christian must be born, of the Spirit. Contrary to all the talk you hear from men about “starting a church”, you cannot start a church anymore than you can start a Christian. Both must be born, for they are not mechanical things but living organisms. This takes time and travail, not to mention one heck of a revelation of Jesus Christ. And that revelation must be a sustained revelation… it must be continuous, on-going. It must be kept fresh and up-to-date-a living, daily experience of Jesus Christ-or else whatever experience and expression of the church there is will fade away and die.
I’ll be honest with you. I’m looking for a man to follow who builds the House of the Lord along these lines. We say the church is not a building, not a place, not an organization, not a thing, and yet our methods are so tired, so old, and so mechanical. Where are the men who spend their all on the raising up of a true and living expression of the church, one that exists in freedom and in love? I’m convinced these men are out there, and I even think I’ve met a few of them in my day, but I’m positive we need more of them. When the Lord said to pray for laborers, I suspect he was speaking of quality as much if not more than he was of quantity. We need men of spiritual quality who build according to Christ.
I’m getting a little off point here, though. The organic nature of the church. Why is the evangelical mind so completely blind to it? Why is a living, organic expression of the church so hard to come by? Tonight I have only the question. I leave the answer to you, my dear readers. 🙂 What are your thoughts on this matter?