Category: who is your church

who is your church :: 6

Hello all, for the last month or so I’ve been writing some things about ‘who is your church’ and felt it was good to blog them, but if you are interested in reading back through them, I have put the whole group of writings up over here.


As I have been writing, we are in the midst of a restoration of what it means to be the mystical body of Christ, the spiritual house of God. There is so much to be mined here… what does it mean that God wants to dwell in us? This is so much bigger than even what the garden of Eden was all about. There, God walked with Adam, but did not live inside of him. The church is cosmically a new creation.

Christ is making himself in us. Paul called this a mystery. It was “kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints” (colossians 1:26). Why would it have been kept hidden? Well, one thing about mysteries is that they need to be searched out. Even as the hidden things of God are revealed, they are DEEP hidden things, as David said, and they beg to be searched. “Christ in us” isn’t just some twinkie truth and it is not just about salvation. It is about revolution. Jesus is going to sweep the earth with his presence, and once again God will dwell among men–through men. The king of all reality is going to inhabit people. This is radical, and it is going to shake the heavens and the earth. Everything as we know it is going to change!


who is your church … 5

this will be controversial

For some of us, our church is actually a group of people who are spread out across nations, even. While this might feel lonely at times, I have never felt closer and more purposed with others than I do these days, with my church that is definitely spread out. I am amazed that everywhere we go, He gives us true Communion. A local expression always exists when two or three are gathered. That is a spiritual law. There is a light and a reflection of Christ in that place at that time.

For most of us obviously this is not in place all the way, but it will be. For the last couple of years, I have struggled at times wanting to run out and make something happen–sometimes out of loneliness, sometimes out of a desire to see people connect, sometimes wishing that there were a more organized way of giving each other teaching, or equipping, or prayer. In the midst of all this the Lord kept reminding me to be patient. There were right times and seasons for everything. Some seasons he is just working on your marriage. Some seasons he takes you through pain and trauma. Some seasons he lets you get really really dry and wilderness-y so that you learn to recognize his manna.

He is patiently but painstakingly building something so beautiful and amazing that one day will look like a whole being of Christ radiating out into the earth. Jesus is going to have ONE whole bride. It’s important to know who your church is, who your people are, and how to be connected to them. None of us are perfect at this, but He really does want to join us with others who connect with us in the ways He wants to connect Himself. His blood needs to flow through veins–and not some arbitrarily joined pieces of the body.


who is your church …numero 4

a vision

A couple months ago God got me thinking about these things more seriously. We were on our way home from visiting friends in another part of the country. They sat around the table one night sharing their frustrations about their lack of fellowship. They had both served in a few churches but felt like that was not it anymore. They also have a constant flow of people in and out of their house–there is constant prayer and ministry going on. At the same time they felt there was a need for having relationships with people who weren’t always just pulling on them or receiving from them, but also friendships where they could share openly and honestly, friendships that helped fuel them.

As we sat around the table talking about all these things, I couldn’t help but picture the number of people I knew who also more or less live like this. I kept having this picture of circles going around and around us. They are a couple that we know is in “our church”–despite them living far away–because whenever we are together there is a charge and a love and a communing that we wouldn’t get from a million Sunday mornings elsewhere. This couple also has several other couples that they like to be with and that they grow with. As we sat around they couldn’t help but wish everyone lived closer to each other. But I saw that not everyone that they considered their church, their people, were in our church, our people, and vice versa.

As we drove home, God showed me the reason for this.


who is your church… part 3

Well, in the last piece I wrote for the broken Christians. I realized about halfway into it that I was writing some for myself, reminding myself of what it is I’m looking for and how to keep giving my expectations of Christian community to God. Nearly every week now, it seems like we meet someone who is disheartened with the way things are or just distant from other Christians. I really like being around people like that because I realize that we are part of that great field of dry bones.

It was burnt stones that were raised up to make the new temple.

It was dry bones that became the great army.

The army will be made from the wounded, the lost, the tired, the poor, the drugged-out, the sick, the demonized, the scattered, the pissed-off, the divorced, the fatherless, the lonely. He takes special pleasure in building his living-place among those who feel they have no home.


who is your church… part 2

part two:: the things that grow in wounds

As with all major restorations that God has breathed into the church, including the Reformation, there is always controversy and potential for the movement itself to become a religious ideal. Same goes with the truth of the mystical body of Christ, and all the ideas and new teachings attached to it. We are in the midst of great changes and many movements but we all have to make room for fresh metaphors, because all the current movements, even the freshest ones, around this truth contain *seeds* that God has planted. These seeds are going to grow into something much bigger. We have to be very patient with each other as He begins to draw out his own connections.

When I was 21 I decided to become a vegetarian after reading a very powerful book written about the effects of the meat industry on animals and capitalism. At the time I only knew 2 people who were vegetarians–only one grocery store near the university carried one shelf with vegetarian-friendly items. There were no veggie burgers, because the vegetarian craze and health-food industry had not yet bloomed to the extent that it has. Needless to say, I had a hard time translating my decision to friends and especially my family who all thought I was slightly wacky. But I also felt very passionate about it–so I preached the gospel of going meatless everywhere I went.


who is your church… part one

This past year God has been teaching us a lot about “who is your church”. If pressed, a lot of people would probably answer, I don’t know… many of us knowing full well that there is at times a gap between the group of people that formally pass as our church, and the rather amorphic group of people we truly feel like we are joined with… that group which inspires us to keep going on with God, the group of people that we feel intimate spiritually with.

Maybe you don’t feel like you have anybody to be intimate with spiritually. Maybe you are a person who is searching for a group of people to connect with. Maybe you are in a formal gathering known as a church and still wonder if you are in the right place.

While each one of our churches will look different in size and nearness, it still seems important to know who those people are.

Finding out who our church is is also needs a lot of patience, because what He is building is very dynamic and fluid than what many of us have been accustomed to… and for some of us will take time, maybe even a few years to become something that feels like church to us. The more we travel and talk with different people, the more we have started to notice that there are A LOT of people currently living in the uncomfortability of doing something or being with people that doesn’t have a name or an official connection to anything that looks like church. For the most part, most of these people are exactly where God has them… and the important thing for everyone is to be patient.

Many of our close friends have never “belonged” to a formal, institutional setting–i.e., have not “gone to church” (meaning, attended a meeting in a building that is for a church) and find most of their spiritual life growing in ways that have yet to be named. Others have been looking for alternatives to traditional church settings. All of these seekings represent the increasing yearning of many Christians to have authentic, living, breathing relationships with others.

A friend of mine and her husband recently felt led to leave their church… finding themselves in the midst of those same questions, “who is my community, my church,” and so on, while also craving real friendships that help support the constant ministry they are always doing out of their home. Not long after she received a ministry letter from someone who did a radio program in which she addressed “out of church Christians”. The radio program resulted in an outpouring of letters and calls from all kinds of believers who felt that they were in that place… many of them seemed to be from very traditional church backgrounds. God is obviously doing something big in the church, and not just on the crazy margins, but in the mainstream parts of Christianity, too.

I realize that in some more traditional parts of the church this is a very hot topic, while in my circles it is not, but overall there is no denying that something is shifting and changing in the life of God’s people.

restorational things

There are many truths and realities that the first-century church was walking in–and many of them were lost not two centuries out. History shows that God has been restoring, one by one, truths about himself and his kingdom into the body. The reformation was probably the biggest and first major restoration–that of the priesthood of all believers. This was such a life-changing wind in the church that it really affected all of western civilization. Many things have been restored since and with greater acceleration, as the church rushes toward the end of the age.

In just the 20th century we have seen a full-blown restoration to the church the truths of speaking in tongues, the gifts of the spirit, evangelism, the five-fold ministries… Derek has written some pieces around restorational truths if this subject is new to you, or you wanna learn more: the longest article ever by derek and five restorational seeds.

Right now we are in the midst of one of these major restorational moves of God. Especially in the last 10 years, He has been a restoring to the body a living knowledge of what it means to be the mystical body of Christ–what does being the mystical church, the “body of Christ” actually mean? What is the spiritual house of God, worldwide? This is why Ephesians has suddenly gotten so popular, too, as it really is the major revelation in the Bible on what it means to be the mystical house of God.

It is also why many movements like cell groups, house churches, intentional communities, the emergent metaphors and other interdenominational networks are happening all around the church–these all contain seeds of this restorational truth. And for the most part, they are genuine movements of God to bring new light, fresh wind into His people. Many of them are correctives, serving to remind the church that she is of course not a building of rocks but living stones, breathing, connected and transcending buildings and boundaries between people.

So this is the first of a few things I’m going to post through the next couple weeks on the church… hopefully it will encourage us all, and shed some light on who your church is… and give some hope for the future!