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thoughts? (vintage church)

July 12, 2009

I am extremely bothered by a thought right now.  I’ll get to that in a second…

We just finished the Vintage Church series kickoff.  What an INCREDIBLY FUN day!

I think today will be a day that I look back at for years and remember “this is ALL we need to expand Jesus’ kingdom”.  To catch you up, The Bridge canceled our ordinary worship gathering at Chapman’s Retreat elementary and met in House Churches scattered across Spring Hill to remind ourselves of what the church is and what “church” isn’t.  Here’s the stuff we didn’t have today and yet church still happened and God was very pleased…

  • Comfortable seating… or any seating at all. One person (who shall remain nameless) sat in a Miller Lite lawn chair that they were given for free in the living room and many of us were on the floor.  Note: no Miller Lite was consumed at our House Church.
  • Childcare
  • A building
  • Worship band
  • Announcements by “The Shoop of Earl” (aka Scott Shoopman)
  • A funny, gifted speaker… but you never have this if you’re a part of The Bridge anyway!

For the first 300 years of its existence the church had no buildings, met in homes without any of these “advantages”, and grew from about 1,000 Christ-followers to around 26 million.  That thought is REALLY bothering me this afternoon.

Here’s the question that will keep me awake tonight: Why do you think Christianity isn’t spreading like it did then when we’re the ones with all the advantages?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. josh permalink
    July 12, 2009 4:58 pm

    I’ll start with what I think PART of the problem is…

    Because we have all the “extras” (band, building, comfortable seats, sound-system, etc), it’s easy for churches to become obsessed and sidetracked with things that aren’t important at all to God.

    While we’re busy arguing over what color the carpet is going to be or whether there will be a Wii in the Student Ministry room, God is mourning the billions of people dying and going to hell.

  2. Lynetta permalink
    July 12, 2009 9:04 pm

    Actually, the church *is* growing like it did before…in places like China, North Korea, and Vietnam. Notably, they don’t have any extras like you described. Just like the early church, they face severe persecution, yet risk everything to meet.

    It seems like Christianity spreads in direct proportion to the level of persecution in any given area. So, to add to your answer, I’ll add that lack of persecution is another part of why it’s not spreading in America.

    By the way, today was awesome! I hope we can do it again sometime. We even had dancing as part of our worship today (thanks to Madeline and Gracie!)

  3. Scott permalink
    July 13, 2009 9:10 am

    Focus… when we are consumed by the desires of this world, even in the church, the focus continues to be self-centered. In a land of persecution, the focus turns towards others – to save others as you have been saved.

    In our current culture, what have you been saved from? What do people outside the kingdom of God feel they need to be saved from? We have everything we need right here – right now!!

    Not unlike the salvation that comes from a tragic moment in someone’s life, we must realize the need, REALLY realize – DEEPLY realize, prior to accepting the gift of Grace. It is then that we can be a useful tool for God to use to bring others into His kingdom.

  4. Mary Bea permalink
    July 13, 2009 11:06 am

    I think because the church (in this country especially) has become a country club…that people choose to go to because of the reasons you named, great band, lots of activities, a preacher who makes them feel good about themselves, people who dress like them…and so many on the outside look at it and KNOW they won’t be accepted or fit in…what keeps coming to my mind this morning is…
    When a girl gets an engagement ring she never takes it off, she’s showing it off to everyone, she hold her hands in ways that people will notice it and comment on it…always looking for an opportunity to tell someone about it…As Christians we carry something more precious than that diamond ring & it’s living in us…maybe if we started really focusing on the fact that we are the house of the Living God…then maybe our attitude would be more like the a girl with a diamond ring and we’d look for reasons to show it off…

  5. Nathan W. permalink
    July 13, 2009 2:50 pm

    After reading Shoop’s post, a passage that came to mind was from James 2, saying that “God has chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith.”

    So a follow up question might be: How can we richly live in God’s grace so that others might realize their extreme spiritual poverty and destitution and need for that grace?

  6. Suzie permalink
    July 13, 2009 5:47 pm

    I believe another portion of the problem is that people aren’t willing to invest in the church. Sure, people are more than willing to get out of bed on Sunday morning and go to church (too often just because it’s a social event) but they are unwilling to invest in the children, the youth, the music, etc. There are so many ways for everyone to serve within the church yet there often seems to be only a small percentage of the body of that church that is actually investing more than than that couple of hours on Sunday morning.

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