Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
First, I want to understand what Jesus intended and what Jesus did, in fact, launch as the church of Jesus. Much of the time we have added man-made doctrines and methods to His teachings. These doctrines and methods may be good in themselves, but Jesus had a better idea in mind.
When I teach what Jesus said and did with His disciples and what He intended with respect to the future disciples of His disciples, it is clearly different from what we know and love today in the Church. And as I teach these things, the contrasts are very clear, therefore it may seem that I am blasting the Church in the process. That is not my heart at all. I see the organized big C Church in much the same way as the early Synagogues and the Temple in Jerusalem. When you frame the Church in this way, it becomes clearer how the Church fits within the Jesus movement.
The Synagogue and Temple were the mass meeting places where believers would come to pray, confess, offer sacrifices, worship and hear the written Word of God read each week. The Synagogue had instruction for children through adults. Jesus and His disciples attended Synagogue, never spoke against it, didn’t seek to change it, and didn’t start another one to compete with it. There just wasn’t any bashing of the Synagogue.
The Church today is the same as the Synagogue. It’s a place where believers can gather in mass to pray, worship, hear teaching and enroll their children in some sort of spiritual instruction. It serves the consumer needs of the people. The mega churches provide programs that are unequaled and very helpful, especially to the needs of families.
The most vital question for today is “What is the church Jesus said He was building?” It’s too easy to miss what kind of thing Jesus intended. I call it the little c church. The term “church” is not a special or holy word as many believe and teach. It literally means “called out ones” and was used to describe city council meetings or any kind of assembly where people are called out to meet for a purpose. It simply is a gathering of followers of Jesus. The simple gathering of followers of Jesus on any day and at any location is a church. These gatherings Jesus launched revolved around four ingredients-fellowship, food, prayer and the apostles’ teachings (teachings and principles of Jesus).
The big C Church by its very nature tends toward making most people spectators; the little c church is all about relational participation. The big C Church is founded on a set of beliefs or doctrines-a system of do’s and don’ts; the little c church is founded completely on a personal relationship with Jesus and as we gather seeing Jesus show up. The big C Church is a place where you go; the little c church is not a place to go, but wherever you go, you are to be the church-the gathering in the name and power of Jesus. The big C Church is an organization; the little c church is a live organism-organic movement in every way that can turn the world upside down.