Perhaps I am becoming obsessed with the notion of asking really good questions. But as I engage with pastors and lay leaders in our 29 churches and fellowships across Alaska I see over and over again the wisdom in this simple practice.
Questions arise in a myriad of places in my life, but one of the most fertile soils where they bloom is scripture and spiritual reading. I am part of the two-year Academy for Missional Wisdom along with 6 other Alaskan lay and clergy persons. In my reading for this week I was motivated to ask this question. What if we as Church did not define ourselves as Church? Rather, what would the implications be if we allowed those in our mission field to tell us whether or not we are being Church?
Wow! Talk about giving up ourselves! I am not certain that we should allow our identity to be totally determined by what others outside the church think of us. But it is an intriguing question because it can shake up our view of who we are and our mission in the world. One of the gifts of my not being part of a single congregation is the ability to see a bigger picture. It can become easy for us to view the world through the lens of the Church. Would our vision be any different if we viewed the world through the lens of God?
I believe that our work is God's work, not ours. The grace of God is surely active in and through Church. But it is also active in the lives of people apart from the Church.
So what answers would you be willing to hear if you asked people in your community to define your church?
Grace and peace,