Yesterday, the Registrar’s Office, in cahoots with our boss’ wife and sons, gathered for a surprise 30-year work anniversary lunch. Now, I know other offices gather for such things, but our office (like every other office at our university) has a distinctive: every person here is a confessing follower of Jesus. All those who gathered for lunch yesterday are members of the Church, but the gathering itself was not church.
What might this tell us about being church in the world?
- Not every gathering of Christians is church and that is a good thing. We carry our connection to Christ and our siblings with us. The gathering that is church equips and trains us to do God’s work wherever we are.
- Ministry is not gathering-centric. Ministry–service–flows through all of life. The church functions as the Body whether gathered or sent.
- We are church everywhere because Christ is Lord of all. His Kingdom includes and will include all of his creation. That same unity of rule applies to us as well: we are Christians as whole persons. No part of our selves or our lives is separated from our life as members of his Body.
Now, if we are honest, we admit that we do these things well, poorly, or somewhere in between. Awareness of our connections, the adequacy of our training, the impact of our sent-ness, and the submission or our lives exist on an unfortunate sliding scale.
How might the gathered church more adequately train for its service as the sent church?