The Body of Christ and How we “Do Church”

Is church a list of programs, or a set of traditions, ceremonies and pageantry? Does it really matter what style of music you have, or whether or not the preacher (by whatever name) wears robes, a suit or jeans? Is it possible to worship without candles or a certain type of décor? Do we choose a church because of its youth group, its seniors’ ministry or its bowling league?

That is what I mean by how we “do church”.

Ah yes, the most powerful force in the modern church: The way we’ve always done it.

As I pointed out in the last post, church as a movement changes lives for Christ. The church as an institution maintains the status quo.

Many of the things in this category are matters of personal preference. When I am at home, what I may prefer gets some attention, but in the Body of Christ, we have a much higher calling than “self”. Our traditions are usually good; they are often the great ideas of an earlier time, but the real question we should ask is whether or not they still contribute to the building of God’s Kingdom. If they do, that’s great. If they don’t they are obsolete and out they go.

Programs are all well and good if they help build the Kingdom, but if they don’t, we need to try something else. To put it another way, we may have many excellent ministries that meet the needs of our community and bring healing and hope for many, and this is a very good thing. We also might have ministries that either never connected with the needs of the community, or that no longer reach the needs of the community, and we mustn’t keep them around for old times’ sake, for that is how a movement begins to stagnate and turn into an institution.

No doubt you can think of many other examples of how “the way we’ve always done things” has held our great movement back. I’m reminded of what John wrote:

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.  Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

Revelation 2:4-5

That should be enough to think about for this morning, let’s get back together later and take a look at relationship.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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19 Responses to The Body of Christ and How we “Do Church”

  1. It is hard for those who see their particular denomination as the right one as anything but correct, age old practices and all. It’s only when we turn to the Word and remember we need to get it out to as many as we can in whatever way they will hear and understand it, that we see the opportunity for new programs and practices as beneficial!

  2. applegold says:

    The way we do church has been an ongoing internal observation and process for me. Most recently, my thoughts have centered around the one who “proclaims the word” in the gathering of the believers. It should never be about the one who is proclaiming, but about the word and truth of the gospel itself. In many examples around me today, it appears that the gathering (the church) is about the one proclaiming. The awareness of this causes me to consider how I proclaim the truth of the gospel, and even the very words I would use. It causes me to shift my whole starting point (thinking geometrically, the very focus point at the center) to Christ. It is and has always been about Christ, but too many times, I have found myself beginning with the thought, “What are they going to think about me?” My first thought should always be (and I desire it to be), “What will they think about Christ?” From that point, then, I can begin to consider the various elements that will or will not be included in a worship gathering.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Amen to that. Once upon a time, i was trained that I should be the star, and the Word was my tool. Obviously nobody actually said that out loud, but it was the truth nevertheless. I’ve come to recognize that it is the Word that is the star, and I am only His tool. Thinking like that has really helped me do a better job… and made preparation a lot easier in the process 🙂

  3. Bette Cox says:

    Reading your “church” posts is like waiting for the other shoe to fall… 🙂

  4. Those things aren’t important except to people in the process of learning they aren’t important and there are always those in that process. The way church should be done is Jesus should be lifted, we should focus on Him, and mirror Him in our daily lives. We should love one another as He loves us.—-But I’m just an old lady no one is asking me.:0) Still, I do church that way while others go through whatever process they are going through because I went through it too.:0)

  5. Pingback: The Body of Christ and How we “Do Church” | A disciple's study

  6. rod says:

    This is a difficult topic to discuss.

    The Topic of Physical Israel, and of the church of Christ, which includes Jews and Gentiles is something that people need to see, without bias.

    It requires us to set aside what men have taught us, and look at the words of Jesus, and the writers of the New Testament.

    I have pondered many times, who are all these people who name the name of Jesus, calling themselves Christians…I have some opinions, maybe no better than anyone else’s, or maybe from God’s own mind.

    We all hope to be found “In Christ”, and I believe I am in Christ, but I guess that could also be said of those who Jesus says the following to “depart from me I never knew you”.

    BUT one thing seems to be true.

    God knows who these people are, who truly are in Christ, for the scriptures say “God placed them into / baptized them into the body of Christ.

    So these people are known by God, the real vs the false.

    These people could be called the bride, ecclesia, sons of God, ETC. But this union of people (the true ecclesia) is a “SPIRIT THING”, it is more spiritual than it is physical..

    Those who are a part of this group, which started when Jesus sent His Spirit on Pentecost, lived 2000 years ago, and those who are in Christ obviously exist today also..

    Those in this group, are not like those in the book of acts, since they were at that time unlike any time since the world began, the physical church, and the universal church together in one location, Jerusalem.

    Today, those members of this spiritual church, are hidden at this time from the world, and hidden from each other… They have been hidden since about 100-300AD.

    But what will happen when they are revealed?

    Will it not be like when Jesus came in his body “singular” to die, and this next time His body is revealed, it is many membered.

  7. But, doesn’t the verse you quote from Revelation say we need to do things the way we always have? It says, “Repent and do the things you did at first.” That clearly says to me just keep on keeping on! 😉

    • Don Merritt says:

      OK, I know you’re joking 🙂

      But for those who might be looking over our shoulders… it’s probably the second harshest rebuke that Jesus ever gave…

  8. Pula Metsing says:

    Reblogged this on Ai Kant Spal Kwit and commented:
    The answer really is found in Acts 2 and Acts 4. We are so far from being the original ecclesia. Church is the wrong word.

    Just read about how the early believers functioned. That was well before Saul was converted and before divisive pagan religion became part of Christianity.

    Later, when Saul was interrupted to became Paul, he would endure endless trouble with Gentile believers who did not know the inspired Scriptures like the Jews did for tens of centuries.

    We really need to repent of every Gentile influence and become the brethren of Acts again. This is who Yahshua will return for.

    #earlychristians #truebelievers #churchofacts

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