Friday, February 6, 2009

The Building of Christ?

Okay seminary students and those in positions of leadership at your local house of worship, how many of you have seen and/or used this particular model? If I understand this correctly, PRAYER is the foundation, MISSIONS, DISCIPLESHIP, FELLOWSHIP, MINISTRY & STEWARDSHIP are the pillars that support WORSHIP.

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:

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


If the church is the Body of Christ, doesn't it make sense that the model should be a body?

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!)

19 comments:

Matt @ The Church of No People said...

Hey, good post here and on SCL! But you've crushed my dreams of actually building a 5 pillared 'temple' with those words engraved in them! Can you imagine if that were an actual building?

Annie K said...

Wow, I'm with Matt. (You sure we won't see this in your neighborhood in Houston?)

Hey, we're throwing down love atcha' like you wouldn't believe at SCL. I think you made #27 on my list... I heart Katdish.

sherri said...

Matt, I'm CERTAIN that SOMEWHERE, SOMEONE has built that actual church!

Now, the other kind of church is still in the planning phase for most people, but some have ventured out and started the building process, while others are enjoying the church that can't be measured in feet and inches.
I'm with you katdish, and that's why I'M A PART of my fellowship of believers.

Helen said...

Very good points in your post, Katdish. Congrats on your guest spot at SCL. You did a great job there, too.

Candace Jean July 16 said...

Zeke is one dude who's got it together. Use a stick person to represent what a church is supposed to be, and you have Jesus' feet doing what He prayed we would do. That 1 Corinthians scripture is one of my favorites.

Beth said...

Can I be the spleen? I'm not sure what a spleen does, but I wanted a chance to say the word spleen.

And I dig the way Convergence "fleshed out" the whole body of Christ thing. (Hardy, har, har.)

Related songs to this post that won't leave my head:
"If We Are the Body" by Casting Crowns
"Give Me Your Eyes" by Brandon Heath

Okay I'm gonna annoy someone else now.

Nick the Geek said...

The model I use it a three legged stool. The top is "the church" and the legs are:

Discipleship (teaching or what have you)
Relationship (mentoring)
Evangelism (witnessing)

These are the three main purposes of the church. "Go and preach the gospel, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them all that I have taught you." Just like in a real stool these cannot stand on their own and so must be joined together. The braces, or ties that bind as I call them, are:

prayer
worship (as an act but also as a united gathering)
giving (I prefer this over stewardship because I focus on giving of time among other resources but stewardship works too)

Each of these bolster the main purposes. If you remove one the church will not fail instantly but it will be stunted because the base is weak and wobbly. If you remove two you will lose a leg and the whole thing will fall apart.

Somewhere I have a fancy graphic that demonstrates this but I'm lazy and don't feel like finding it and uploading it just now.

Helen said...

Beth, I'd offer to be the hair, but would you really want to be part of a Church that kept complaining about their Church constantly having bad hair days.

Okay, this was way funnier in my head...

heartafire said...

Actually, a body could live and thrive without a leg, but I think it wouldn't work as well to have a church with no ministry.


(I really do love that Zeke guy---He looks totally accessible, fun-loving, easy-going)

Helen said...

Heartafire, yes they could function, but they would be pretty lame. As would a Church with no ministry.
You are right that Zeke looks cute, though...

Peter P said...

This is the singly most awesome post I've read today! (it's also the first)

You've outdone yourself katdish.

I love it!

jasonS said...

Very nice. Love this post. We need all the reminders we can get that the church is not a building, it's people and it's relationship.

I was thinking the head being prayer wouldn't work at first because Jesus is the Head, but He's always making intercession for us so that works quite well.

Peter P said...

Oooo, I didn't pick up on that Jason!

Great point!

Patricia said...

I followed your links from SCL back to here. I tried to find out more about Convergence as I live in the Houston area. All of your blogs (this one, Jeff or Convergence) assume prior knowledge of what you are doing and /or your vision.

There is no backstory for those of us who are linking now and might want to help/pray/visit/contact you/find out more information.

So, where are you in Houston and how do we find out more?

katdish said...

Patricia,

Thanks for your interest in C3. For more general information, you can check out our point and our process, sometimes referred to as a "mission" or "vision" statement, and what we believe.

You may also contact our lead pastor, Jeff Hogan at jeffh@loveliveserve.org

Jeff said...

Patricia,

I wanted to echo Kathy's invitation- if you have questions, please feel free to contact me.

We are currently working on our website, and your feedback would truly help us to know what information we've missed on the blogs! :)

Since we're meeting in homes right now, I'd be happy to email you the address if you'd like to visit. Like Kathy mentioned, you can reach me at jeffh@loveliveserve.org

I hope to hear from you!

vanityofvanities said...

I'm a big fan of this post. I really like your thinking. And I like your post over at SCL. I can't believe I know a famous person! ;)

katdish said...

Angela,

That's pseudo-famous person to you. Besides, you know you're one of my feisty little heroes!

texasshawn said...

Very nice, Katdish. I might have to borrow it. ;-)



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