What is the church? If modernity was boiled out of how I know church, what would be left? What is true biblical community?
These are the question I am left asking after a recent trip to London where I spent a week immersed in fresh expressions of church.
About 20 years ago in the UK, denominational leaders were asking questions similar to these anticipating a generational tidal wave of rebellion from what church had been for the last several decades. And the communities of Christians I experienced three weeks ago are the result of these questions and the movement, which answered them.
What excites me about the movement of a reimagined church pioneered by forward-thinking, progressive individuals with a passion to reach the unreached, is America has a chance to join. We may be 20 years behind, but so is our culture.
The reality is, the generational tidal wave is building. The Church in America has an opportunity to bolster and prepare. We just need to be asking the right questions and driving the right conversations.
It is sad, but looking backward is not the answer. The legacy left by the church as we know it is rich, strong and invaluable! And the inherited ways of doing church continue to be crucial as the Lord is still alive and working through them. However, alongside the inherited, needs to be novel expressions of church.
If the world is offering better alternatives for programs, music, learning and community even, society will (if they have not already) see no need for the church as an institution.
The answer is Jesus. So if we stripped away everything from church but Jesus, there would be no walls, no Sunday School, no worship services, no programs, no parking lot, no Family Life Center. Starting with the slate of Jesus, there is nothing man-made or initiated. There would be only Jesus. It is interesting and daunting to think about! If you are like me, then your comfort zone is sitting within the modernity of church. The discomfort comes when I am strictly abiding in Jesus and nothing else.
Like I said, the inherited is just as important as the novel. But the novel is just as important as the inherited. So let's reimagine together! What do we have to do to prepare for the next 20 years? Maybe it is as simple as starting over in some areas.