Last Wednesday night I got back from England and I still find myself processing all that I did and learned while I was there. I am amazed how beneficial my time was in regards to me and my view of church. The picture to the right is of an old church building in Calais, France. Actually it was one of the very few that we saw there. The building is quite impressive and I remember that when I saw it I was amazed. I thought much about what had gone on in that church and found myself wondering what the circumstances were around the time it was built. What is it that makes it so impressive? What inspires the awe? As I ponder those questions I realize it is the complexity and size that inspires the awe. Can you imagine what all it took to build it, the skill and time that it took. Especially considering their lack of machinery that we have today. My mind is simply amazed. I know that it is nothing that I could duplicate or accomplish.
While in Bicester I spent time with a small church, a house church of sorts. The church is in its early stages of starting and growth. The leadership is committed to keeping the main thrust of the church small and in simple groups. Even though they currently have around 20 people a part of the church they are going to multiply into three smaller groups with a larger group get together every three weeks. I was blessed to spend one night of worship with them and during that time I was greatly encouraged and challenged in my walk with the Lord. The greatest thing about the church was its simplicity and with the simplicity the great amount of impact for the kingdom. To do what this small church is doing is not rocket science, anyone could do it.
When considering much of the churches I have been a part of I realize that they are like the picture of the church above. They are complex and awe inspiring because of there complexity and size. I realize that the average church goer is intimidated for one reason or another and think there is no way they could do it. They feel as though the work of the ministry must be left to the professional clergy. There is all the programs we run and the large budget that comes with the programs. Many end up in larger and larger buildings as they grow. The ability of the musicians and the amount of technology involved requires so much money and skill. The crazy thing is that as much significant work of the Spirit happens in the little church I got to go to as the large complex and expensive churches.
Coming away from my experience in England I realize that we make church way to complicated. In Acts 2 it says the early church met in the temple and daily in their homes sharing meals together. That is so simple and yet the models we have developed are so complicated that we read book upon book trying to figure it out. Please do not take that I think that what we do in America is totally wrong and we should jump from the building before it falls. What I am saying is please don’t think that the music, technology and other things we do are essential to being a church. Those are nice things we do but are not essential. Rather we are to come together to help one another grow in the faith and practice the ordinances together. Church is not rocket science it is fellow believers in community helping one another know Jesus more and live out the mission We have been called to.
So friends as we go to church be in awe concerning the work the Spirit did in your life that day through the Word and through other sojourners not because of the complexity and hugeness of the building or of the things that went on in the worship service.