the weblog of Alan Knox

Church Life – A New Series

Posted by on Sep 8, 2009 in church life, community, edification, fellowship, gathering | 11 comments

Often, I meet with people who have questions about the church. We talk about Scripture, and living as community in Christ, and leadership as service without someone “in charge,” and giving to those in need instead of “tithing to the church,” and church meetings where several speak or discuss or share.

Eventually, when talking with people about these things, someone usually says, “But, what does this look like?” or “How would this work?”

In other words, even if our understanding of the church begins to change, it is still difficult to know how it “works” without seeing it in action. We’ve seen the traditional church structures and organizations for so long that we can’t imagine something different.

But, I always have difficulty describing “how it works” in our case – that is, in the case of the church that we meet with. You see, when people asks, “How does that work?” they are usually wondering about the Sunday church meeting (what most Christians call the “worship service.”) Most Christians have a difficult time understanding how they can meet with other believers as the church without a music service, a pastor’s sermon, and a tithe to hold it all together. How can we have a “worship service” without someone “in charge”?

However, if I tried to describe our Sunday meeting, and only described our Sunday meeting, then I would be doing a disservice to Messiah Baptist Church and to my readers. Why? Because our Sunday church meeting is only a small part of who we are as the church. Sunday is only one day out of the week. The Sunday meeting is only one meeting between believers of several meetings during the week – either planned or spontaneous.

So, this series will help explain how we live life as the church… how we share our lives with one another. Certainly, I will not be able to talk about everything. But, hopefully, this will give my readers an idea of how we are trying to live together as brothers and sisters – not just in name, but in identity and reality.

No, I do not think we are perfect. Yes, we have problems. But, I’m hoping this series will be an encouragement to other followers of Jesus Christ to live in community with others.

I also encourage you to share stories (in the comments, or email them to me) about how you are living together as brothers and sisters with the church.


11 Comments

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  1. 9-8-2009

    I think this will be extremely helpful. It is one thing, and not an easy one, to try to conform our doctrine of the church to Scripture but that always leads to questions of “how” that looks in practice. Looking forward to this.

  2. 9-8-2009

    Arthur,

    I hope this is beneficial. The first post in the series will be published tomorrow.

    -Alan

  3. 9-8-2009

    Alan, I hope you will also address how you all got started. I mean, how did a church like Messiah Baptist Church begin? It doesn’t seem to me that you guys are the typical church plant. And how would you suggest that others go about starting this type of assembly?

    These things would be helpful too. I’m looking forward to this series.

  4. 9-8-2009

    I too am looking forward to this series, as I often wonder how this all works. I am, as you say, have “seen the traditional church structures and organizations for so long that [I] can’t imagine something different.”

    The group I’m part of has dipped our collective toe in the pool, but we feel like we’re flying blind, as we’ve no models. This may just help us think outside our box.

  5. 9-9-2009

    Scott,

    We started from a very traditional background, but with an intent very early on to consider carefully every decision that we made and everything that we did – even if we’ve always done it that way and had never seen anything else.

    Laura,

    I’d love to hear how any of our examples of living with the church help you think about your life in your own context.

    -Alan

  6. 9-9-2009

    Until earlier this year when we were called to become part of an Anglican church nearby, we were part of a community church that was based not around the Sunday meeting, but the times we had together throughout the whole week.

    We very much believed in church as family, with body ministry where the ‘ordinary’ people of the church would care for each other, pastor each other, pray for each other and so on. There was a Sunday meeting with community worship and formal teaching, but as a means to bring the body together en masse and provide opportunities that would not exist in smaller groups. People were very much encouraged to press into God, and find Him for themselves and then to share what they had, than to be dependent on the leaders.

    You’re right though, it IS difficult to describe.

  7. 9-9-2009

    Alan, will do. I’m encouraging our dream team to read the series so we can talk about it at our Sunday breakfast gathering.

  8. 9-13-2009

    I appreciated very much your comments about the church. I am also impressed by the philosophy statement of Messiah Baptist. I wish I lived closer. I’ve felt frustration with the “organized church” for some time now. I even tried to put my feelings in print on a site called http://churchinalton.blogspot.com/, but I think it ended up as a dead end. (I’m no webmaster!) Do you know of any likeminded fellowships in the northeast?

  9. 9-13-2009

    Steve,

    Thanks for the kinds words. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone in NH. I know a few people in the Portland, Maine area.

    -Alan

  10. 9-20-2009

    Do they assemble for worship? Is there a contact name?

  11. 9-20-2009

    Steve,

    As far as I know, my friends in Maine have not found a group of believers to gather with. Send me your email address at aknox [at] sebts [dot] edu and I’ll get you in touch with them.

    -Alan

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