If you have not read the previous post on the first few verses in Genesis 3 and are interested in some challenging questions then you will want to check that out. I had to add a post because as we are struggling to find a church here in Las Cruces it is making me more aware of what I want to see in a church body. So here is my ideal church:
1. Sunday mornings are for prayer, praise, worship, and music only. No preaching. No teaching. It is a structured service but can be changed if things head in a different direction. So I see it opening in meditative prayer some days, other days folks come in and the band is jamming out, on another Sunday there may not be a group at all but maybe one person with a guitar or piano and that is it. The goal would be to allow people time to communicate prayerfully with God through different styles of prayer, singing, and praise.
2. Preaching would be left for Sunday evenings. There would be a potluck supper every Sunday night. The speaker would give the message at the end of supper. There might be a couple of songs there but there doesn’t have to be.
3. Small groups/cells/house church – whatever you want to call it. People would be encouraged to build relationships on Sundays and carry those into the week. Instead of doing the small groups the church would just encourage folks to hook up for hanging out throughout the week and building those relationships into friendships of encouragement and accountability. There are issues with this though.
4. Personal evangelism is the key followed by discipleship. You could have standard Sunday School or Small Groups but the reality is that personal relationships are the most effective for someone believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Once the conversion happens (and even prior to that) discipleship is key to growing the new believer. This can be done in small groups but I see it as individual responsibility. If you cannot disciple someone else then you need to be discipled. Look for that more mature person on Sunday and start building that relationship.
5. This would be a step-by-step growth process. The initial leadership would fall on whoever is doing the week-to-week organizing. At some point you have to start relinquishing and sharing responsibility. I would like to see an elected leadership structure as it progresses and I have ideas for that but for now the church would be too small to worry about that.
6. Tithing would be encouraged but not for the church. I want the church to have its members tithe to Christian based organizations that they are passionate about – Pregnancy Centers, xxxchurch.com, American Family Radio, their local Christian radio station, helping a local homeless persons ministry, etc… How much more could the church do if we invested in these places that are actually doing good in the community and drawing people to a belief in Jesus? As far as funds for the church…
7. As the church plans ahead then the leadership would inform the church body of what expenses are coming up. The members would have to either decide to give their tithe to the church to help out or make an offering over their tithe. So if the group was big enough that they needed to start meeting in a conference room at a hotel then those hotel costs would have to be covered. What I do not want to see if the group building a NEW building. They either need to split it up and stay in houses, get free space to use somewhere, or cover their rent for using an existing facility. The only way a new building needs to go up is if they can pay for it 100% in full and be able to cover all the taxes, utilities, electricity, etc… that come along with it without impeding on the body of believers being able to invest their tithes into the Christian organizations of their choice. So in my head that means NO BUILDING to maintain or that has weekly/monthly expenses. If it could all stay in homes then that would be even better.
8. Once a quarter the house churches would get together and pitch in for a huge worship/praise/prayer event. It would be free to the public (with donations accepted of course to help offset costs but if none come in then so be it). The goal is a massive corporate time of fellowship, food, music, prayer, and personal testimonies. It would last as long as it needed to – maybe starting on a Friday night and ending Sunday night? Not sure yet.
Well, what do you all think? Now if I can just convince my wife to allow me to try and make it happen…