12 January, 2006

What will happen?

Rich, over at Realm of Possibility, posted about movie moments that really moved him. As I stated in my comment there, the one movie moment that crushes me is in Braveheart. William Wallace is explaining to Hamish and Stephen (the crazy Irishman) why he is going to ride off to meet with the Bruce, who has already betrayed him once. It is seems like suicide, but there is nothing left to try. Hamish and Stephen protest, and Wallace asks,

Wallace: Do you know what will happen if we don't try?

Silence

Wallace: Nothing.

Wallace did not fight for security. The English guaranteed their subjects security. Wallace risked and lost his life for freedom.

After nearly 500 years, the church has forgotten that it ever had a freedom to lose, but things were not always so. Once, every saint brought a psalm, a hymn, or a spiritual song. Once, the prophets had to wait turns to share what the Lord had laid upon their hearts. Once the apostles had to go house to house to see an entire church.

Once the believers owned the church.

I have proposed a plan to take the church back to freedom. In this proposal the path to freedom goes through service, instead of doctrine, instead of policy, and instead of money. As I rework the proposal, I will have to make clearer that service is the path, and not the goal, because it is all about freedom.

The house of God must live free.

If brothers and sisters have something to do, besides listen to sermons week after week, and if the "thing" that they do is managed by them instead of a clergy, those brothers and sisters will begin to take back their ownership in the body of Christ. When that happens, we may again see a day when brothers share more than a Sunday handshake, and when the kingdom of God can turn the world upside down.

But it won't happen by itself. We have to try, and that is scary.

I know that nobody is going to gut me while I shout, "Freedom!" The worst that can be inflicted on me is embarassment at being wrong and/or the pain of loving brothers and sisters and losing them. I bear those scars already, so I know they are not trivial, but they are not fatal either.

I will try, because I have tasted freedom. Not many of my brothers and sisters have been so blessed. I have seen that freedom in the house of God is worth every price. I lived 4-hour meetings in which every member of the body brought something of praise to the Lord. I have been enriched when one sister shared something beautiful and sparked another sister to start a song that a third had introduced to the church a year before - and the song fit that moment like a glove. The weakest brother can move everyone to tears when he shares something he grasped in prayer.

I cannot give up on this freedom, and I cannot gain it back alone. We have churches, and we have brothers and sisters, but now we have to grasp the kingdom - together. We have to fight for freedom - together.

Do you know what will happen if we don't try?

2 comments:

Scot said...

Codepoke, I followed you over here from The Realm of Possibility. I'm really interested in your idea of the familyhood church. I especially like the way you described it on your page header. I've had similar ideas floating around in my head. It seems we should go back to the church we see in Acts. Church should be more than acquaintances that listen to the same preacher on Sundays. We should live life together. My wife and I want to get to the point where friends just seem to drop by our house for fellowship. What a shame that we are all so busy that fellowships have to be organized months in advance for even a small Sunday School class.
I read your RFC. I'm curious to hear your ideas on the role that community service plays in making the transformation to the familyhood church. Why do you feel the steps that you propose would be more successful than previous neighborhood visitation/evangelism programs?
Do you feel passionate about the steps you've outlined, or are you still searching how to pursue the vision that you have?

codepoke said...

Cool, Scot. Thanks!

I have lived what you and your wife are hoping to see. It is worth every agony (and there are plenty of them.)

Do you feel passionate about the steps you've outlined, or are you still searching how to pursue the vision that you have?

I am not yet married to the idea of service as the best way to "get there," but I am planning to "pop the question" pretty soon. I cannot imagine a better way to grow a church in America than by community outreach and service, but that doesn't mean the better way is not out there. If anyone can top this idea, I'm there.

Why do you feel the steps that you propose would be more successful than previous neighborhood visitation/evangelism programs?

Because the goal is different.

Many other groups and people have done things better than what I am suggesting, but they have done it with the intent of getting people into pews. Just getting people into pews would be loss to me. The Familyhood Church should be member owned, led, and driven.

When the clergy owns the church, it can only get so far. When the entire church owns the church, there are that many more people carrying the load, and it can go that much further.

The core idea that drives the community clusters is that they own responsibility for the physical and spiritual care of that neighborhood. As they grow in experience with service, they will grow in prayer and praise as well.

The other objective is to draw in the unchurched believers in the neighborhood, and give them a place to fellowship. It may not be natural to everyone at first, to worship in a neighborhood group. The may even worship in someone's living room, which is really odd for most Christians, but it grows on you, believe me!