This entry is an excerpt from a message at Hope Church on March 27, 2011:
If a Creed is what one believes – I believe in the church because of its inseparable connection to Christ. The Bible is clear that the church is the body of Christ, and Christ is its head. This means that if a person believes in Jesus, he/she must believe in the church. If Creed is what one believes – and this week is the church – here’s what I believe about the church:
• In the body of people who have given their lives to Jesus Christ, are committed to unity in the truth; and to reconciling the world to God – one life at a time.
• The church is people not structures, buildings, or denominations. I fully get that these are structural aspects but they are not themselves what I’m after.
• Not in going to church but in being the church.
• The church is not an antiquated hymn sing but an unstoppable force.
• The church is not hired ministers who do ministry, but every believer committed and involved in doing the work of Christ.
• The church is democratic and equal access.
• In the church there are no classes of important or unimportant people regardless of status in life, money, health or handicap, strength or weakness.
• The church lives on truth and grace, and gives both lavishly.
• The church is where you can be most yourself because the head of the church is the creator of your being.
• The church is people of repentance, grown on humility, fueled by grace, filled with gratitude, and raised for eternity.
• The church thrives on vision, lives on love, and welcomes honest skeptics and seekers.
• The church is at it’s best when it’s the underdog, at it’s worst when it’s arrogant and full of itself.
• The church is a healing place.
• The church is organic not institutional, relational over programmed – planted by God, given life by His spirit, alive, growing, inviting, seeking.
• In the church as tribe, an intergenerational community living the reality of our lives honestly together, without masks and the tiresome games of trying to impress one another with impressions based on our insecurities.
• In the separation of Church and state, not because I don’t think people should be able to express their faith in public but because I don’t want the state involved in the church.
• The church is a community of seekers, not a club of knowers. There are few things more enjoyable than a humble community of welcoming people; and few things more repelling than a group of proud people – know it alls, full of self righteous satisfaction.
• The church is a movement of His mercy, an agent of reconciliation, a harbinger of His healing and the greatest force for good the world has ever known.
• The church is imperfect people serving a perfect God.
• The church is nothing less than a spreading fire of God’s reconciling and redeeming love.
• The church does not arrive, does not settle, does not stop seeking God, nor seeking to help people find God.
• The church does not support missions, it IS a mission. It sees itself this way, structures itself accordingly, and sacrifices significantly – to reach the people of it’s town – its city – regardless of that city’s geographic location – near or far.
• A church that thinks it’s a church and not a mission misses the point of being the church. You can start playing taps there, because the church exists for mission as a fire exists for burning and anything less is really a waste of time.
• The church is a catalyst for change, a laboratory of creativity, and a movement of redemption – that is always asking how we can serve God better, and reach people more effectively. Freshness and newness are part of our life blood, because our Head is the one who said “behold I am making all things new.”
This is what I believe about the church. This is why I do what I do and this is what I hope you’ll believe too.