the weblog of Alan Knox

Discussing the Church…

Posted by on Oct 13, 2006 in community, fellowship | 2 comments

This is an interesting time in the life of the church that my family is a part of. I am very excited about it, because it is obvious that God is moving among and communicating with His people. Every November we make decisions concerning the church. In the weeks before that November meeting, we discuss various issues to determine how God is leading the church. So far, we have discussed elders/pastors and deacons. Currently, we are in the middle of a very interesting discussion. I will explain it briefly here. I would love to hear different opinions as to how Scripture answers or does not answer these questions.

1) From talking with several people in the church, God is leading some to meet together in smaller groups in different locations, while He is leading others to continue meeting together in a larger group as we have been meeting.

Question: Is it possible for God to lead different people within the church to different types of and locations for ministry?

2) Some (myself including) are wondering how these various groups (really, they will be different churches) should relate and fellowship.

Question: If two groups of Christians meet in different locations, should they attempt to maintain the fellowship and relationships that God has already formed? If not (and this is what we usually see with church “plants”) why not? If so, why and how?


2 Comments

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  1. 10-18-2006

    Alan,

    As we have commented earlier, biblically it appears the NT church was expressed at a city-wide, as well as a more local or “house church” level.

    Because of 2,000 years of church history, including the apostasy of a great part of Christendom, the Protestant reformation, and the development of denominations, in my opinion, it is not practical, at least not for the time being, to return to the biblical model in its purest sense.

    At the same time, I think we do well to try to honor as much as possible the biblical principles behind NT ecclesiology, and flesh them out in the historical context in which we live.

    Among these principles, a very important one is the essential unity of the Body of Christ. I think that, within practical limitations, we must seek to promote and practice this unity, especially on a city-wide level. Does this mean we will be under the same administrative umbrella as other local churches in our community? Not necessarily.

    Sometimes for the benefit of the work, it makes more sense for us to work separately, much in the same way as Paul and Barnabas, when they each went their own way, with Silas and John Mark, respectively. At the same time, I think it is instructive for us, that although they did have some strong disagreements, they never did “break fellowship” and later on down the road, we find them open to the possibility of working together in a more tight-knit way once again (“Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry” 2 Tim. 4.11).

    Bottom line: I would work towards whatever provides the best quality fellowship between the various groups concerned, but not get all “bent out of shape” is practical concerns make it difficult to get together all that often, or work under a common administrative umbrella.

  2. 10-18-2006

    David,
    Thank you for your comment. Your comments are always well thought out, thought provoking, and pertinent to the issue at hand. I agree that no one should get “bent out of shape” about this. The question we are asking is, should we even attempt to maintain fellowship between the groups (churches). Some feel we should; while some feel we should not. No one will ever be able to force someone else to fellowship with/relate to anyone else. Hopefully we will be able to “work towards whatever provides the best quality fellowship between the various groups.”
    - Alan