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thoughts on church

July 3, 2009

lately i’ve been thinking about the purpose of a local church and wondering how the role of a missionary and the practice of discipleship fits into the picture. i live in gaborone, the capital of botswana, where there are several developed churches, even a couple looking identical to your typical southern baptist church in the states. a few are somewhat large (definitely for sub-saharan africa), structured, led by qualified leadership (some with seminary degrees), offer well run programs…not that any of these things are bad, but it makes you think – what does the 20 something motswana, with no seminary training or knack for programming, begin to think are the qualifications or requirements for being a pastor or starting and leading a church? it’s a bit intimidating. plus, i think about how so many of our churches are structured this way in the states – and how so many members of the body have lost sight of their function, their role, because in some ways its like they depend on the leadership of the church to do it all. i’m not talking broad generalization – every church in the states is this way, because many are really thriving as a body where each member is held accountable to another. but for some, church becomes a place where someone goes to be served, to absorb teaching, to be filled up, to socialize…all these things, and its like there’s a picture missing there for how each member is supposed to function in the church, in its community, its city, in the world.

but lets say you have new believers who have little to no concept of church. like our time in kang that i told you about last week…in this village there is a group of believers gathering, the possible beginnings of a local church. these new believers are hearing the Gospel, drawing near to God and as a result of the Gospel’s affect on their lives are gathering together for worship, fellowship, Bible study, prayer…following the biblical picture of church and going out to tell and serve others…all the while walking alongside each other and slowly learning how to take part in its healthy function and growth. the Spirit of God is working and its not something that is forced by society or culture. in a way, by the very nature of their coming together, they are being trained to make disciples and plant other churches. and while there are natural leaders that God is raising up, each person is held accountable for having a part to play, and is being instructed by the Word how to walk in obedience. in the process everyone is being trained to make disciples – the role of being a sent out one becomes less intimidating because its what each member is called to do since the moment they begin meeting together…a new believer in turn becomes a new sent out one…

ramble fest.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 3, 2009 2:34 pm

    keely, what a fantastic post!

    can i pass on a portion of it for people to read? I think it is so important for us to think in terms of planting gospel churches . . . not “church culture” churches . . . for just the reasons you are witnessing.

    thanks for posting on this.

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