Monday, September 03, 2007

Church: Pulling Ideas Together

One of the unexpected benefits of blogging is that it has turned into a place where I can dump information - which if left on bits of paper in the house would never be seen again! In my recent readings on the church I have saved a few gleanings from different sources which I am now seeking to pull together.

At our church conference in May, Stuart challenged us to think of the church in terms of four dichotomies. The church should seek to be (he argued):

"Faithful" - rather than- "Successful"
"Relevant " - rather than "Trendy"
"Careful - rather than - Professional"
"Authentic" - rather than - "Fraudulent"

As previously blogged here, I. Howard Marshall has demonstrated that the heart of the New Testaments references to church are as a community of faith which not so much gathers for worship services, as equips believers for worship, which is service in the world.

In his book "The Living Church", Stott argues from the pattern found immediately after the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2: 42-7 that the church should be performing four functions, (i) learning, (ii) caring, (iii) worshiping and (iv) outreaching.

If in addition to this we are to describe ourselves as being at heart, "the community of Christ" (as I would want to), then perhaps with all of this something useful is being to emerge.

If the community of Christ is who we are...
Stott's quadrilateral tell us what we should do...
Marshall's analysis shows us which direction that this effort should go in...
Blythe's dichotomies tells us about how we should go about this business....
It looks cluttered and a bit of a fuddle - but diagramming it helps me to clarify thoughts, so:

(click to enlarge - sometimes works!)


Stuart said...

Hey you are having a good bash at this - keep going - illustrations and all.

Endlessly restless said...

Aye - I'm liking this. Wonder if we also need to find a way of capturing the idea of service (in its widest sense)? Possibly in the way the community at the centre of the diagram is described?

That Hideous Man said...

Yes - 'service' could fit in there; although I was thinking of it in terms of Marshall's definition of worship.

'whatever you've done for the very least of my brothers.....'