...and if we aim at nothing, that's what we'll hit!
No doubt you have heard of the archer who fired his arrow at the bulls eye, and got his friend to shift the target to where the arrow was heading. This silly story reminds me of the need for us in simple churches to know just what we are aiming at. Why are we doing what we are doing? What do we hope to achieve? Are we doing (to quote the well-known adage) the same things over and over and expecting a different result?
I was recently asked this discerning question: "Do you think house church is the main goal? Or is the main goal(s) something else, and house church is a useful tool? If so, what are the main goals?" I'm sure my questioner wasn't thinking of the-numbers-goal, the-offering-goal, the-church-growth- goals and the other man-made goals that bring bondage and restriction. I hope you understand this too.
Here's my answer to the first part of the question. Simple/organic/house church is not an end in itself. There's got to be a bigger picture! It is a means to an end and an effective means to a powerful end.
Here's my expanded answer to the second part of the question, "What are the main goals (of a house church)?" The list is not in any special order.
1) To provide a relational discipling environment
2) To reach disillusioned ex-church members before they fall through the cracks, and to help them 'detox'.
3) To have a 'place' where non-church folk can be made to feel at home and become open
4) To release people from being spectators to participators.
5) To promote genuine, koinonia fellowship.
6) To live out in concrete ways the many "one-another" commands of the NT.
7) To release people to fulfill their God-given dreams and to actively support them.
8) To enjoy the simplicity of church without the unnecessary, restrictive, man-made
9) This is the biggie....To usher in the kingdom of God. (Matt. 24:14).
My conviction is that we are on earth to establish the Kingdom of God. Some years ago God supernaturally changed my church vision into a kingdom vision. Now I know that the main goal of simple church - and every church - is to see the prayer of Jesus fulfilled, "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven..."
Did you know that the Kingdom of God is meant to permeate every square inch of our society? This will be done by kingdom-inspired believers in their families, their work and leisure places, businesses, all of the arts, churches, hobbies - everywhere human beings live their lives as Christ's ambassadors. And the best place for these kingdom believers to be relationally equipped is in Holy Spirit directed, simple churches.
I'm interested in your thoughts on this letter. Do you agree that simple churches are a means to an end? Do you agree with my list? Are there other items that should be added to the list? Or deleted?Jack