50 people. 50 years.
Christian community often gets relegated to being thought of as a program or subset of the church.
The story that scripture paints for us is very different. The church is an expression of God’s body on earth.
I believe that as this shared community life, and shared story as Jesus as King is played out in our churches we will know transformation of lives and renewal of every element of our world.
But for us to experience flourishing Christian community, we need to rethink how we have approached church, church planting, leadership and so much more.
I want to see thousands upon thousands of churches planted. Christian communities which serve their neighbourhoods, love their towns and villages, who remain faithful and committed to God’s mission in that place where they are being established for generations and generations.
Too often church planting becomes an exercise in musical chairs. You open a new church and magically a crowd of christians appear. From where? Other churches it seems.
As we have discussed how we establish Collective Church, we have allowed this thinking to soak into us. We decided not to go mad with advertising, launch teams, big venues, awesome bands, etc, etc.
As we have begun to gather Collective, we have openly spoken about the traps we all fall into when seeking a church to be part of. As a community we have shared about the things which have seemed important to us in the past, but which ended up being empty, and simply a consumerist desire for the newest, shiniest and most popular.
We have learned that it’s not about what’s the next best church music style, but finding rest, beauty, peace, gratitude, encouragement, acceptance and inclusion as we gather to worship with music, words and acts of love.
It’s not about who’s the best preacher in town. I’m so thankful for this. I’m the Collective team leader, and after years leading in other contexts where I felt incredible pressure and expectation in similar roles, to be part of a community who are seeking to learn collectively, who come together to be pointed back to Christ, who grapple with scripture together… it’s awesome.
Large churches are not the goal. Amazing music is not the goal. Being fed by an articulate and captivating personality is not the goal.
The goal is for more, and more, christian communities to be established with people committed to living life for Christ, gathering together and scattering as they join with God in the renewal of towns and villages where they live.
For Vicky and I, the phrase, ‘50 people, 50 years’, reminds us that it’s about being faithful right where we are, with no size or time expectations. As we live for Christ, our community authentically grows, with person after person gathering to the shared life and shared story of Jesus as King, embracing the life of disciples. 5, 50, 100, 150. People. Years. It doesn’t matter. What matters is Christ-centred community as an expression of God’s body on earth.