Outside A Church Organization
Itís my impression that when we think of being
joined to others in the Body
of Christ, we think in terms of the relationships
we have with those in our church organization and the meetings that take
place therein. As IĎve said
before, Iíve been in thousands of Christian meetings in my life.
I still wonder how many of these meetings made an impact on my life
and other people's lives.
Iím not really minimizing meetings. Well, maybe I
am. What I really want
to do is put them in proper Scriptural perspective.
It would have been simpler if Jesus had of just told us to attend
two mid-week meetings and two Sunday meetings to be His disciples, and
thatís it. The rest of the
week would be ours, bust He didnít say that.
He said things like, ďif you really want to be my disciple, deny
yourself, take up your cross daily, obey and imitate meĒ. Now thatís a
different ball game, in a different ball park.
A joint is at least two people who have been placed
together by Jesus in friendship.
If the life blood of Jesus is flowing through the joint then lots
of things should be done on His behalf outside of meetings.
For example, a joint of two people may do something as simple as
visiting an elderly person in a nursing home.
Beyond this, the sky is the limit.
Or should I say, Heaven is the limit.
Also, our joints do need to be effective in meetings if given the
chance. Even though we spend a
lot of time in meetings, most of our lives are still spent outside of
meetings. It is there we need
to see our joints working effectively.
I know everyone will not agree with my next statement
and thatís fine. I believe
we can have productive and effective joints outside the context of a
traditional church organizations. Joints
are simply friendships in Jesus that work together on His behalf.
Our ďchurch affiliationĒ, as we call it, should not matter when
we think in terms of joints in the Body of Christ. If we think only in
terms of working with those in our traditional church setting, we'll
inevitably end up promoting and building that church organization and its
distinctives, and not the Body of Christ.
The more we build our organized structure and its distinctives, the
more isolated our organization becomes.
This may be hard to swallow, but I believe itís true.
Just try to get a number of church organizations together for a
common Christmas celebration. It
is almost impossible. Many organizations are pre-occupied with their own
distinct Christmas activities and have no time left for the rest of the
Body of Christ. If you know anything about local ministerial groups,
youíll know how true this is. Each
group works hard at promoting and building its distinctives.
Hereís an example of how some people feel about
their distinctives. A pastor
once told me that if his church fell apart, heíd meet with himself
because he believed so much in promoting his distinctives.
Another pastor told me that this pastor would rather see his church
sink rather than switch directions. He
was right. It sank a short time later.
This is not an isolated example.
Building a church organization based on personal distinctives is
common place and not Scriptural.
We would do better by thinking of joints as being
individuals that Jesus has placed together, despite what church
organization these joints attend. This is New Testament thinking.