I suppose it's a decent enough model, but here's my problem with it: If you remove one or more of the center pillars, WORSHIP is still supported by the remaining outer pillars. Perhaps not the strongest support, but still, it holds up. MISSIONS and STEWARDSHIP are critical aspects of a healthy church, but not superior to the remaining pillars. Besides, I don't ever recall reading that we are the Building of Christ. (While that's technically true, 1 Peter 2:5 says "you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." This is in context of Jesus as the living cornerstone, not the cornerstone of an inorganic, static building.) I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that we're supposed to be the Body of Christ. Oh yeah, here it is:
If the church is the Body of Christ, doesn't it make sense that the model should be a body?
12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body. - 1 Corinthians 12:12-20
Maybe something like this:
- The head would represent prayer. Without it, the rest of the body could not sustain itself.
- The torso, or core would represent worship. Obviously, the head is not self-sustaining, and the torso by itself is of little use.
- The head (prayer) and core (worship) could function to form the body, but with extreme limitations. It could communicate with and praise God, but what about the other vitally important parts that form the complete body?
- What if one of the two legs were to represent ministry?
- And maybe the other leg represented equipping?
- Perhaps one of the arms could represent missions,
- And the other arm could represent outreach.
Yeah, that makes more sense to me. I like the idea of the church being a living, breathing vital body, made up of many parts all working in harmony with one another to form the Body of Christ. If this model was studied, understood and lived out by a church and its members, would they model Christ more effectively? In this model, maybe people would no longer associate a church with a building. Wouldn't it be cool if, instead of someone saying, "Bob goes to such and such church", they would say, "Bob is part of such and such church". Maybe it's semantics to you, but I think that it might begin to change how people viewed the church as a whole. Perhaps some people would forgo the attitude of "What does this church have to offer me?", and begin to excitedly ask "What specific part am I meant to be here? How do I get the sense of fellowship and purpose that the people of this church seem to have?" That would be fantastic!
The next question I would ask is, "What is this model supposed to look like?" I don't know about you, but using a representation of the physical Jesus Christ seems -- I don't know -- disrespectful. Since I'm all about keeping things simple, what if you used a stick person? Okay, maybe that's too simple (and lame). But what if you happened to be part of this core group of amazingly diverse and talented people? For the sake of argument, say the pastor of this group got the whole "church represented as a body" concept while taking post graduate classes at a Midwestern bible college and wrote it out on a piece of paper. Then he had a friend with a graphics design background make a mock-up of this idea. Awhile later, he asked an incredibly creative core group member with daft computer animation and graphic arts skills to come up with the final model. I wonder if it would look something like this:
Because that would be AWESOME!
(Please don't misunderstand me -- I'm not suggesting that a picture has that kind of power, but I think what it represents certainly does!)