Robert Whiting In search of awesome

The form of the Church


What should the Church look like?

It’s a question that I’ve wrestled with for as long as I read the Bible–which has been a long long time. I probably started reading the Bible on my own when I was in elementary school, not long after I learned to read.

In high school, I started having more serious thoughts about my future and my faith, and I was very torn between joining the ministry as a pastor in the American church, joining the engineering community and being a witness to my neighbors and coworkers, or becoming a monk in complete isolation.

Issolation became a non-option pretty quickly because it falls pretty squarely outside Jesus’ example and His mission to reach people and rebuild relationships with them. The American church seemed far enough from what I saw modeled for church in the Bible that I decided to go for the engineering route.

But I’m still a part of the Church. I still joined, engaged in, served, and led in a local congregation. Over time, my idealized views of what local church should be faded, and I worked to improve whatever church I was a part of.

Recently, some people in my sphere have started questioning the American implementation of church, and that thing inside me that bothered me for years is coming back. I’m starting to dig into what the Church should be doing. And I’m not doing it.

First and foremost, I need to start living in obediance to Jesus. He did not say, “Serve in a large organization so that you can delegate your responsibility to teach and train other believers to the professionals.” I’m pretty sure he said, “Make disciples.” I’m also pretty sure that when the trained professional “saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

I think a lot of good intention went into where we are today in the American church, but I think we’ve traded too much.

Following Jesus requires no trained professionals.

Following Jesus requires reading His word, spending time in prayer, and doing what He says to do. In human relationships obediance does not equal love, but in a relationship with a perfect God, obediance = love. Because we’re not going to come up with a better plan on our own!

The resources thing always bothered me. I remember walking into a church in Texas that had just put in crystal chandeliers and HD screens everywhere–that’s in addition to the multi-million dollar campus. They’re trying to draw in people to reach them for Jesus, but those resources could easily be used to feed a village or two through a famine. And the congregation could invite their neighbors to dinner once a week–which is a lot cheaper and more effective.

But the congregation won’t do much, so the church keeps adding more and more activity to try and stir up emotions (the only proven effective thing).

The American church, in general, spends its time struggling to pay salaries and mortgages. What if we could remove that concern entirely while getting engagement from each individual attender?

Let’s start meeting in homes again.

Let’s start inviting our neighbors.

Let’s start eating meals together.

Let’s start reading the God’s Word together.

Let’s start praying together.

We’ve overcomplicated church, and we’ve drifted from the mission and responsibility of the good news of Jesus.