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gospel ecosystem: part 2

October 3, 2017

I have outlined what I see as a huge problem for us, as the church in Dundee – which I’m sure is also true of other cities across the UK.

Our insistance that we continue to maintain our denominational distinctions, and that we maintain our structures of employing a minister to lead and manage each congregation – primarially through meeting on a sunday morning in a building set aside for that purpose – is killing us!

Our distinctions are not understood, often even by the man in the pew! and end up making us commit scarce resources to things that are not the focus of what the church is: Remember that the church is the partner that Jesus has chosen to display his “riches and glory” as he fills the whole universe (Ephesians 1); the church is the place where Gods reconciliation and salvation are demonstrated through our peacemaking! The church is the place where Jesus is made real in the world, and where disciples are made.

The trouble is that our structures simply do not support this – we become focused in keeping the church going (by which we mean the weekly event(s) not the community of people). We commit our resources into buildings and pastoral ministry (which means we emphasise pastors and teachers – and marginalise prophets, evangelists and apostles who are actually our best hope of making progress). All of which means we end up taking from the city the people and resources we should be generouly investing into the city to demonstrate the kingdom and incarnate Jesus.

Is there a better way? I believe that there is, we need to grasp the nature of the church as a movement, not an institution. We need to have the courage to unite congregations where we can so that “event” church, what we are used to on Sunday mornings is viable – with fewer clergy and less buildings. I still see that there is a need for us all to gather sometimes for great worship and teaching.  Alongside this we need urgently to work with the evangelists, apostles and prophets to do church simply. There needs to be a return to house churches where people can gather in a relational way – just being friends over a meal or barbque and naturally exploring the questions of life – including spiritual ones! to integrate worship and learning into the lives of people who are spiritually hungry instead of creating artificial barriers that (although unintended) serve to keep people from God.

There needs to be a rediscovery of church in the community [not community church or church for the community] where all of us who know Jesus are contagious in our faith, empowered to be naturally supernatural, praying for people in streets, workplaces, and homes – rather than feeling the pressure to “bring people to church” so that they can encounter God. A network of people who are drawing people alongside them as fellow disciples instead of being spectators at Sunday meetings.

Above all we need a network, a “gospel ecosystem” that means we are doing all this together rather than in competition with each other. Releasing the people who can bring change and hope to our city.

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