Nah, just kidding!
9 times out of 10 one of the first questions people ask when I tell them I’m leading a launch for an urban church is, “so where is it located, maybe I’ll check it out?”.
These are the wrong questions to ask, here’s why.
Since when has our perception of the church community been deconstructed to mean little more than the location you gather once a week? No longer (not that it every was) is truth or experience rooted in a building.
Of course, many churchgoers wouldn’t say the building is the object of importance. They’d still opt for the importance of the PEOPLE inside.
But here’s the rub, there is a dichotomy, or rather trichotomy, of the people inside. There is a distinction of roles between clergy-laity–missionary. This type of distinction has crippled our North American church to become largely ineffective.
We ‘go to church’ to hear somebody talk, and maybe see a couple of friends–sounds like a club. The extent of our worship/gatherings should include far more participation and realizations of God’s reign on earth. But alas, we’re stuck with, “I sit and take it in, you (the pastor) impress me with relevance.” < --mild sarcasm So by asking 'where do you meet so i can check it out," you suggest that you're only interested in the show we put on at 'church'. Now I don't want it to sound like church that you just go 'see the show' is inherently wrong. It's not. We can no longer can one assume people are neatly ordered within Christian paradigms. A leading voice in the 'missional church' movement is David Fitch who had this to say on the subject (emphasis mine):
We could do this in Christendom, when people were largely still marrying, having children, maintaining domestic propriety, living within their means etc. and living a moral ethos still governed by the Roman Catholic and protestant worlds. In such a society, becoming a Christian means assent, or personal commitment. It’s about personal meaning and in some ways this works because one’s life is already habituated in Christian ways. These are the habits of Christendom. Yet they are reversed in post Christendom. In post Christendom, people generally (even among those raised as Christian) come to God in Christ broken, often from homes of divorce, sexual abuse, places of despair. The gospel cannot be a concept, it must be the invitation into an entirely reordered way of life – the world of redeemed creation.
The last line in bold is a key difference between walking up to people through an ‘outreach’ ministry with a predisposed, “I’m right you’re wrong,” perspective.
Church community is crucial, church leadership is crucial, and communicating a gospel in a language people can understand is crucial. How this looks, the ‘language’ is completely dependent on you and your context, and it most certain. That means Christians do not need to wait for pastors to tell them what to do or how to participate, but you have everything necessary to be a leader to your network and friends–to communicate a gospel message of redemption.
There are no set patterns or models. There is no complacency or non-participation.
Remember that distinction of clergy-laity-missionary? Calgary Church operates within a missional model. That is, everyone is a missionary, there is no distinction of clergy and laity, although we still have leaders. However, there is no need for ordination or commissioning of pastors since everyone, through their baptism, is commissioned to be on mission. That is to say you exist to retell God’s story of redeeming his creation in the here and now.
Calgary Church still meets, but we aren’t defined by a rigid building and the static ideas found inside. Get connected with us if you sense these ideas are ringing close to home….