Paper or brick churches?
How long does a church have to last?
I mean, where does the expectation come from that a local church should be eternal?
Does it have to be sustainable in perpetuity to get in the yearbook?
I know what the Book of Discipline says…basically, in order to be recognized as a society you have to be self-sustainable. There is no minimum number of members or how long you have to have been in existence.
Usually we project that a “church” will begin as a “fellowship” and then when it reaches a certain level of maturity and sustainability it can be called a “society.”
In fact, this is a big question as we “design” church.
What is a church?
Is a group of people meeting in a coffee shop for 3 months a church?
Was the Corinthian church (long since closed down) a failure?
Is a church simply a group of people gathered to build each other up and transform their communities through the salvation Jesus provides? Or does it have to meet certain other threshholds? Does there need to be a certain “sustainability” that suggests it would survive independently of those who attend this week?
I think most of us have the idea that the “X” FM Church exists, whether or not anybody’s there. And that the “Y” FM church doesn’t exist until it has a building with a sign on it.
In fact, haven’t we substituted edifices for edifying? I’m not on some kind of rant against buildings, I AM thinking that we’re not recognizing churches that spring up quickly enough. I’m also thinking, we too closely associate our church buildings with the “church” which can throw off our expectations when we think about starting new churches.
In the old days, Free Methodist pastors were assigned to “paper circuits.” That meant there weren’t churches there yet, but they were sent out to start churches that, for the moment, were only on paper. Those guys were gutsy!
I suspect we should recognize groups as churches much more quickly.
Perhaps my idea of church is entirely too fluid. This is why we have blogs, rather than emit bulls!
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile