CHURCH & Three Terms for “Church” Today #ScotMcKnight

by: Scot McKnight, 3/23/15

Allow me to use three Greek terms to describe how church is not only understand but practiced today. If you observe the practice you can describe the understanding behind it. Each is an expectation that can be met by participating in that expectation. I offer today some thoughts about three models of church at work in our minds and our practices, and send you to A Fellowship of Differents for an exposition of the third sense.

Leitourgia

That is, church is worship service. The Germans calls this Gottesdienst, and many Americans when they say “church” mean “going to a church building on Sunday morning for a worship and sermon service.

Some leitourgia models focus on worship order (the liturgical, lectionary model, eucharist-focused) while others focus on the sermon.

No matter what is believed, for many “church” means the leitourgia. It means what happens when Christians gather on Sunday morning to sing, read Scripture, hear a sermon, and for some participate in eucharist…

Ekklesia

That is, church is gathering together on Sunday morning. The central idea here is not just worship but gathering together. The word “church” comes from the Greek term ekklesia, which some think derives from the idea of being called out, but it means more those who are gathered into assembly. The term refers to the gathering of citizens in a Greek polis to discuss and govern the polis.

For some in this camp of thinking, “church” is about separation from the world (called out from the world) while for others it refers to gathering for a variety of reasons, not least worship and sermons and Sunday School and Bible study. So this term grabs the first term but becomes more expansive of why Christians gather…

Both of the above terms work for the church because they speak of very important elements of what it means to be “church.” But they each need to be bolted into a unit by grabbing the next term, the term I think is perhaps the most expansive term used for the church in the NT. Some may prefer to focus “church” on the term ekklesia and fill it in with the both leitourgia and koinonia. I prefer to see the expansive-ness of koinonia as the best term. Whether you agree or not, we need all three ideas.

Ekklesia Christian living also tends to focus on Sunday gatherings though it often breaks through into fellowship.

Koinonia

That is, church is a group of people who live with one another through the power of the Spirit under the sign of King Jesus. The central idea is that it is a fellowship of people, who know and love one another and who seek to grow into Christlikeness both personally and corporately with one another, who know and care about one another’s children — to nurture them as they can alongside parents. They also share life’s ordinaries with one another: food and table and wisdom and cars and time and dinners and even holidays.

This idea leads us to see the church as a micro-society inside a larger society (our communities, our cities, our states, our nation). As a society it looks after one another holistically. As koinonia, it must gather; as a Christian koinonia, it must worship; but as a koinonia it knows the others as ones with whom one journeys in this life.

This idea leads us to see the church as a family. The most common word Paul uses for the people of the church is “brothers [and sisters].” That tells a story — the church is a fictive kinship, a new family.

Koinonia churches care more about diversity because they care about one another more than most models of the church. Furthermore, because church is seen here as a koinonia this kind of thinking presses us into crossing borders and boundaries into greater diversity and a deeper embrace of differents…

Read more at … http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2015/03/23/three-terms-for-church-today/

CHURCH & DISILLUSIONMENT: What is or What could be?

The Church: What is or What could be?
by Scot McKnight

Do you love the church for what it could be or what it is? If the former, I suggest you read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s magisterial little book, Life Together. It is, so I think, his best book. No need, however, to debate what is neither provable nor non-falsifiable — what one thinks is his best book another will not.

What is worth discussing is his incredible set of statements about the expectations we bring to the church and that we expect of the church and how our expectations, when they encounter the realities, are dashed to the ground.

What is worth discussing is that until we realize that the eucharist table is at the front of the church under the cross — because those who come into the fellowship and “cracked Eikons” and in need of grace and healingwe will not comprehend what the church is.”

Leaving the church because it does not meet our expectations is failing to understand what a church is; we have a church because we have failed to meet God’s expectations. Failed expectations, then, are the foundation of the church and the reason for its existence.”

Read more at…
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2014/04/07/the-church-what-is-or-what-could-be/

CHURCH CURE 1 = GROW O.U.T.

Church Cure 1 = GROW O.U.T.

by Bob Whitesel, excerpted from “Cure for the Common Church,” Wesleyan Publishing House, 2011

Rx 1 for the Common Church = Grow O.U.T. In this cure, as well as in all of the cures in this book, the remedies spell out the name of the cure.

CURxE O: Observe whom you are equipped to reach

CURxE U: Understand the needs of those you are equipped to reach.

CURxE T: Tackle needs by refocusing, creating or ending ministry programs.

Read more about how to apply this “Cure for the Common Church” at http://bobwhitesel.com/c3/Cure_for_the_Common_Church.html

 

How Wesley’s “Method” Focused a Church Inward AND Outward

by Bob Whitesel, excerpted from “Cure for the Common Church,” Wesleyan Publishing House, 2011

The cure for the ingrown church is to keep a church focused both inward and outward. In fact, history indicates that churches that stay connected to outsiders often do a better job at inward ministry too. For example, an Anglican pastor named John Wesley was so ashamed and alarmed at the depravity of the people outside of his church, that he took his sermons outside the church walls and began ministries to better serve their spiritual and physical needs.[i] Balancing this emphasis upon people inside and outside the church required a rigorous structure his critics mockingly called: “Wesley’s Methods.” Soon his followers were know as “Methodists,” a term which endures to today and should remind us that we need a clear method if we are going to avoid focusing only on people inside the church. After 20+ years of consulting, I believe this method here lies in three organic remedies. These cures, if taken together, can foster a healthy balance between inward and outward focus.

Rx 1 for the Common Church = Grow O.U.T. In this cure, as well as in all of the cures in this book, the remedies spell out the name of the cure.

CURxE O: Observe whom you are equipped to reach

CURxE U: Understand the needs of those you are equipped to reach.

CURxE T: Tackle needs by refocusing, creating or ending ministry programs.

For more details, DOWNLOAD the O.U.T. Chapter Here (and if you like it, please consider supporting the publisher and author by buying a full copy): BOOK ©Whitesel EXCERPT – CURE Chpt 2 HOW OUT.

For more information on this and other cures for the common church, see “Cure for the Common Church”, Wesleyan Publishing House, 2011 and you can read more about the book at … http://bobwhitesel.com/c3/Cure_for_the_Common_Church.html

Footnotes:

[i] Wesley urged discipleship via small groups which he called “class meetings” to help non-churchgoers grasp the basics of Christianity. These “class meetings” were a type of discipleship group, which we shall discuss in greater detail in the next chapter of “Cure for the Common Church.”