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What are we going to do about our broken “body”?

Believe it or not, this used to be a place of worship. A place where people went to worship God. I’ll admit that I’m not really sure why the church is being demolished only that for the last six months I’ve driven by it on my way to work. I even remember reading an excerpt from one my books at an event at the church several years ago. Back then, it stood strong; weathered but strong. Like many of the older church buildings in the city of Philadelphia, it had endured the various environmental, political, and social seasons of the city. From wars to riots; from migration to development.

But now it stands in a strange uncertainty; connected to the past but certain that no future (except the one of being a half-demolished historical structure) exists. So I ask you…would you like to worship here today? Would you like to serve in this temple? Yes, I realize that there isn’t a front door, maybe a few rats, and the pews are strewn about but seriously…would you like to meet me here on Sunday, sit amongst the filth and decay, and give God some praise?

Yeah, I thought so.

A thought, as sure as the locks on my head, came to me as I sat in my car, stopped at the light on the corner where this church half-stands.

Is this how the world views the Body of Christ? Is this how the “Church” is perceived?

Yes, after 2000+ years, we’re still standing. Yet, how much of what we are known for, what is acknowledged as true about us is connected to our history? Even atheists believe that the “historical Jesus” existed. It’s the whole Son of God thing that they can’t wrap their mind around.

I know the word “relevant” is so cliché when it comes to conversations about the Body of Christ but I do ask, are we relevant to those that we are called to reach or are we just an institution that has been beat up and half demolished by sin (from within and without) yet still calling for people to sit in our pews and worship God as if they don’t see the destruction, the filth, the rats (!) around them?

Are we accessible? Are we inviting? I don’t mean inviting as in the kind of superficial clean-up that we do when unexpected company comes. Throwing everything in the closet so that they can’t see what is just beneath the surface. Nor do I mean that we should compromise the message of Christ in order to appease people. I DO mean inviting as in being the vessel for the love of Christ to a world that is hurting; whose reflection looks much like our own faces before (and after, if we’re honest) we met Him.

Are we standing strong in some areas (like the back part of this church) but in other places…specifically our front door …we are broken and impassable? Do we grieve the Holy Spirit by making entry difficult, giving only the most savvy (and least sincere) of sinners back door/VIP privileges?

Something has to change.

I know this sounds negative. That is not my intention. In fact, a part of me thinks that maybe the whole “all things work together for good (Romans 8:28)” thing is what’s in effect here. Maybe the church as we knew it to be NEEDS to be demolished. The one thing that stands out to me about this picture is that the whole reason why this church remains standing in spite of time, weather, and wrecking ball, is that most likely it was built on a solid foundation.

And so it is with the Body of Christ. Our foundation is Christ. Without a doubt.

However, what we’ve built on that foundation just may need to come down (along with some of our unbiblical traditions and mindsets) so that we can build anew according His word. And I know what you’re saying. Yes, we should honor what has come before us…the people that have laid the groundwork. To a certain extent, I agree. Our past is an important reminder of the victories and testimonies that have happened before but it is also a clear picture of our brokenness and our need for healing in many areas. While we honor our past, we don’t worship it. We don’t build monuments to it. The fact is…any good that came from it was ONLY because of an alignment with Christ. And as long as we maintain that alignment, then change and rebuilding; the shift that we all feel but are too fearful to grab hold of…doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

If Christ is coming for a church without spot, wrinkle, or blemish (Ephesians 5:27)…shouldn’t we stop sitting around half-demolished and get on with the re-construction?

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5 thoughts on “What are we going to do about our broken “body”?

  1. HALLELUJAH! Finally, someone said it. Yes, the church needs to rebuild and it's up to us to do it. The old methods aren't working and they won't work for this next level in God. It's like trying to use a pick axe on something for which a bull dozer is required. Scripture says this, "Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert." (Is 43:18-19) We see the new thing and we desire it but we continue to ask God if this is really Him because it's something we've not seen before. Guess what? It's not supposed to look familiar to the eye but it is resonating with your spirit. (I don't hear nobody talkin'). What was "then" was great and it worked well. But what worked for the older saints will not work for you. Your different, you have different vision and a different level of anointing and there's nothing wrong with that. That's not to disrespect what has come before us because scripture says to not remove the old landmark. However, I hear in the spirit right now that we are to breath a freshness on the Body of Christ. How? With YOUR gifts, YOUR anointing, YOUR witty inventions. What has God put in you that you can use? Because imitation won't work. It's like putting on a size 6 shoe when you wear a 10. Come on somebody!Stretch out your wings and be free. BUILD the section that God gave you the plans for. Remember this – "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." 1 Cor 2:9-10. Whatever God has revealed to you by His spirit, it is so.If you build it, God will bless it and people will come. He's set it up so that people will be attracted (like a moth to a flame) to whatever God put in your hands to do. So, just do it. God bless.

  2. I am obviously biased and love Mt. Zion Church in Nashville, TN. My Bishop says often you can not have an 8-track ministry in a ipod world. That doesn't mean "dumbing down" Christ, but that does mean to make it relevant to those that are sitting on the pews. It is his hope that by giving you the Word in a form you can digest, you will be hungry for more and will 1. keep coming back, 2. start studying the Word on your own, 3. accept Christ as your Lord. Yes,I attend a mega church. But the church still owns its historic property and still holds events and services there.. Moving forward without losing those that have come before is key. Recognizing the "mother board" and elders for their wisdom, and having a thriving young adult/youth ministry are important to any inclusive/successful/community church. Elders can share wisdom about their experiences with God, and the youth have energy and are on fire for Christ.

  3. @Malika – I'll write it but you just go on ahead and preach it, then!!! LOL@Neysa – I feel you and you're right. I belong to a megachurch also but have recently been a bit disheartened. I feel like sometimes we can be sooo about expansion and growth that we miss the opportunities for true ministry. I also believe that church is going to increasingly look a little different than we're used to and that may be challenging for some. @Shon – Thanks! Yeah, I'm definitely in that reflection and renewal place. 🙂

  4. @Malika – I'll write it but you just go on ahead and preach it, then!!! LOL@Neysa – I feel you and you're right. I belong to a megachurch also but have recently been a bit disheartened. I feel like sometimes we can be sooo about expansion and growth that we miss the opportunities for true ministry. I also believe that church is going to increasingly look a little different than we're used to and that may be challenging for some. @Shon – Thanks! Yeah, I'm definitely in that reflection and renewal place. 🙂

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