When I look at the church today, as we typically see it in the west (especially in the USA), and then when I look at the church as it is described in the New Testament, one word comes to mind: impossible.
Can you imagine the modern church relying on the service of the entire body for teaching, serving, proclaiming the gospel, caring for the sick, etc. instead of relying primarily on the work of trained leaders? That seems impossible to me.
What about the leaders themselves? Can you imagine the church recognizing leaders as those from among the church (people they actually know and have lived with) – people who are already serving and teaching and living as an example of a disciple of Jesus Christ? Can you image the church no longer asking for resumes and hiring strangers to be their leaders? Again, it seems impossible.
Then, there’s mission… Can you imagine churches sending out people from among their ranks – yes, normal, everyday believers – and helping them travel from place to place so they can proclaim the gospel and build up believers that they meet? Can you imagine them doing this without relying on trained and salaried professional missionaries? Impossible.
Then, when the church meets… Can you imagine the whole church coming together to build up one another through the gifts and through their own study? Can you imagine anyone being allowed to speak or serve as God directs them? Can you imagine a church meeting where the leaders are not emphasized or don’t take the prominent position? Is that impossible?
Like I said, when I compare the church today to the church described in the New Testament, I tend to think, “Impossible.”
I mean, we know how to plan meetings. We know how to train and pay professional ministers and missionaries. We know how to rely on our education and methods and formulas. We know how to allow our leaders to do the work.
But, to actually rely on God to work through each part of the body the way the Scriptures describe… impossible.
Yep, impossible. Unless, of course, God desires to work that way…