I seem to have spent so much of my Christian walk attempting to learn the ins and outs of how to build a healthy church community. The problem I have experienced, is the utter absence of simplicity in most of what I've studied.
The true church paradigm that our Lord Jesus fashioned was in fact one of simplicity. In various ways, it's the idea of simplicity that generates distress for so many people. The idea of simplicity is commonly linked to an individual who is looked at as "simple" or unintelligent. The term simple is also misused to sell a ton of different services and products that aren't in fact as "simple" to use as the advertisers would like us to believe.
In our world, that practically worships the belief that "more is always better," simple church can appear like quite an oxymoron. The legacy church template is governed by professional clergy that have a far broader knowledge base than the typical lay member. If the long standing church system they were a part of was straightforward to manage, they would find themselves unemployed, which may in part explain why the traditional church system continues to exist in the same basic manner it has for several hundred years.
25 years ago, I was taught that about half of all the folks I would encounter during the course of a business day, suffer from regular feelings of loneliness. A simple solution to that challenging situation is for people to be friendly, to take the time to listen to people, to take a keen interest in what is going on in their everyday lives.
But what will happen if our everyday lives are so busy and hectic that we don't have the time or energy to genuinely listen to those who we come in contact with? What if the church configurations we belong to don't allow time for folks to share with one another, to "carry each other's burdens," what then?
Well the results are rather obvious: the typical Christian church has very little relevance in today's society because in large part the traditional church system doesn't make space for it's members to be heard. People who have grown up outside the average church pay it a visit and realize that they don't need to go out to be overlooked and irrelevant, they can merely stay home to get that form of treatment.
So, the brilliance of the simple church system originates in large part, in what isn't accomplished as opposed to what is being accomplished. Sharing a meal together is pretty simple and at the same time awfully effective in constructing bridges between individuals. There are no time-consuming sermons about how we ought to work on becoming the body of Christ. We only sit together and share a meal, and in the process, become the body of Christ through our shared experience. The key is found in our capacity to cease doing the complex things that don't draw us closer together, so we can participate in the simplistic interests that do.
Chris Keenan is the creator of Help for House Church. They offer a distinctive educational environment for Christians to learn about simple church and how to become the church and not just "go to a church service." Their distinctive service makes learning about organic church straightforward and handy.
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