Well this is my first foray into the legitimate writing scene, I realise that this culture has been around for a little while now, with blogs and online websites increasing at a pretty rapid pace.
Interesting to think about time and how things nowadays can explode and become quite large in a very short amount of time, but ten years ago it was the idea of the Internet that was catching people's attention. Now that I have tried to grasp the gravity of a "connected" world, I feel as though God may be leading me into the depth's of it. So, here we go!
Hello! My name is Jason LaLone, yes that's two capital L's and not a typo. Today I want to talk about the topic of church.... And that's all it took. As soon as you read that word, you probably had a bunch of ideas, concepts, thoughts and opinions about what that word represents, how it has effected your life, what it should be doing and maybe even what it's doing well.
For all the different backgrounds, experiences and life events that have occurred in your life, to give you those thoughts, I would encourage you to read with an open mind. I'll be writing about how to get an open mind in another article, but one way is to take a quick moment and silence your thoughts.
The word 'Church'
When the word "church" was used in the Bible it didn't describe a building or a place. It actually represented a group of people, these people (in the book of Acts), were called the people of "The Way" (Acts 9:2 & 19:9). It could be guessed, by myself, that the reason for this was Jesus' statement "I am the WAY, the truth and the life" (John 14:6).
So, if your like me, I needed to retrain my mind when reading the New Testament to think about people and not a church building when the word "church" appears. I think that this small detail, actually can represent more about our thought life than we actually think.
It's easier for me to put the idea of church inside four walls, the statement: "that's where church happens" allows my mind to easily engage (or disengage) from this idea. And maybe, that's a part of the problem. You see, in the New Testament, the PEOPLE were the church. As in, I am a walking representation of church, there weren't walls to this, there was no "safe place" or any one person to blame or criticise.
If your criticising "the church" back in the New Testament, your criticising every single person that belongs to something greater. If your praising "the church", then your encouraging and giving thanks to the people who should be representing Jesus everywhere they go.
This can do a couple of things, first it can get people out of their comfort zones and perhaps allow people to understand that if there is something wrong with "the church", then some part of the responsibility is on them. I often question if I should just start living the way Act's reads, what a crazy world we would live in if Christians did what Paul wrote about literally.
Secondly, this concept of there being no walls to a church, puts no limit on what can happen. If we adopted the idea that "church" is a lifestyle and doing "church" was living life with others, then I believe the possibilities are endless.
What if church starting being any time we gathered together as Christians?
It would start to take the pressure off the people that we consider to "do or run church" all the time (pastors, clergy, teachers etc.) and start to allow us to step into a role that was possibly our role from the very beginning. Jesus didn't just teach the people called to ministry to be like Him, He called all of us into a lifestyle.
If we partner this idea with a powerful, almighty, everlasting, loving God, who loves His church, then I believe we would give God the opportunity to move and work even more than we do already. If God hasn't given up on the us (the church), then why do we so easily?
My encouragement to myself and the reader, as well as a small challenge is this: next time you enter into a worship time, give it all you have. Reach down to the depths of who you are and give God praise, don't hold back, He's so worth it!
May the God of all peace and comfort be with you, be blessed today!
Jason LaLone is on staff at YWAM Brisbane. He is passionate about discipleship, taking Jesus's command to make disciples of all nations as a practical reality that he can live on a daily basis. He loves lasagna, cats and use to dislike Monday's, making him most like Garfield.
Jason LaLone's previous articles might be viewed http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jason-lalone.html