What is “Local”?

The discussion over at The Supremacy of the Church Local? raised questions about the meaning of “local” in today’s culture. Without further ado:

I am firmly convinced of “local church” as a regular, physical gathering in Jesus Name for worship and mutual edification. The shape and style of such gatherings change with culture, time, and participants. I am equally convinced that these gatherings are sent into the world to be and announce the in-breaking of the reign of God. I am further convinced that there is only one church and that, while these gatherings are church, none of them alone is the church. Every congregation, like every believer, is necessarily connected to every other, regardless of culture, denomination, nation, or any other division.

So, if church-on-earth is always manifested in specific, local gatherings, how should these gatherings manifest their necessary connection to the one church? What determines “local”? Is it where you live? Where you work? Where you socialize? Where you travel? With whom you travel? Is “local” only geographic, or are there other kinds of “local”? What does “local church” look like among a migratory people? Do they carry their geography with them as the travel?

Related post: Is the local church primary?

About Laura

My name is Laura and I am on a journey, pondering the implications of God's glorious design of humanity and integrating every aspects of this design into a description of whole life health.
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2 Responses to What is “Local”?

  1. Andrew B says:

    Christ builds the church from the living stones of believers. The local church is as you describe. The unification of all the local churches into the one universal church comes through the headship of Christ.

    The individual living stones know Christ as Lord. They are built into the local church, which as a local body knows Christ as Lord. He does the building such that all the local bodies form the whole Body of Christ with Him as the Head and the accumulation of living stones in local bodies as the manifestation of His Body in the here and now.

    The local church is formed of living stones who are sharing their lives under His Headship. To be real that needs some regular face to face contact, I think.

  2. Laura says:

    Andrew, well put. I especially like the connection from individual believer through universal church being knowing Christ as Lord. He connects us together across time and space.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on the nature of “local.”

    Thanks for your recent interactions; you’ve given me much to ponder (btw, I’ll get to the emerging church post in a few days).

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