For most Christians, “church” is the big box where they attend a “service” on Sunday mornings.
If they are super-committed Christians, maybe it means attending additional meetings and programs that emanate from the Box during the rest of the week.
It took me years to learn to think – and act – outside that box!
Yes, Christ can be found in the box. But He does His best work, I’ve found, apart from and outside the box.
My spiritual heritage was outside the box. I was birthed into the Kingdom of God during the Jesus Movement and was very active in what we’d now call a network of “organic” or “simple” fellowships. But as the decades passed, I allowed myself to be slowly but surely drawn into the box.
Getting back out required a radical paradigm shift as I honestly and painfully let Scripture strip away my man-made traditions and accumulated expectations.
Those traditions and expectations included letting the vitality of a church revolve around a central, gifted pastor; putting on uplifting, edifying and directed Sunday services, with a challenging and motivational sermon and a dynamic worship team; offering attractive and hopefully “relevant” Sunday School and youth ministries; and maybe having some good outreach programs.
I excelled within that box as a teacher with the biggest adult Sunday School class; a globe-traveling dynamic conference speaker; the leader of a jail outreach program; a trusted adviser, confidant and leadership mentor to pastors; a popular faculty member at a denominational Bible college; and even receiving a nice wall plague as the church “Volunteer of the Year”.
Since I’ve left the box behind, however, the life and spiritual growth that’s now emerging in so many lives is astounding.
Thinking and acting outside the box doesn’t make me better…
Rather, it just makes me more free to “be the church” with others who likewise are able to more fully express the life of Christ in us, among us and through us.