A Christian Community Celebration in September 2008 at Ken & Harriet's house at Chambers Flat, Queensland, Australia. We are very much part of a large relational community. We see our focus as coming from a Kingdom of God focus with the risen Jesus versus seeing ourselves as part of a Christian Corporation. We are here with 25 other people who have come celebrate the future wedding of our joint friends, Rob Spence and Lyn Francis This was for several hours in the afternoon. One of the men Wayne Spyve, had received a direct Word from the Lord that morning and is praying for them. See the photo below the first one we all praying for them as well as Wayne prays the Lord’s blessing and success into their future marriage .
Rob said in e-mail to us: Thought that you may enjoy these photos from our gathering on Saturday. Lyn and I would like to thank each of you for your love and congratulations as we prepare for our marriage. Special thanks to Ken and Harriet for their gracious hospitality, Wayne for praying for us and Don for his toast.
Bless you for joining and celebrating with us on the day.
Love Rob and Lyn
Should our fellowship be in the form of Corporation or that of a Community?
Should our fellowship be in the form of Corporation or that of a Community?
This blog site looks at the nature of Christian fellowship …… an important theme for 2000 years since Jesus Christ was here on Earth. Should our fellowship be in the form of Corporation or that of a Community? Which did Jesus Christ start?
By Corporation, I mean a Religious Corporation with attributes such as religious intuitionalism, hierarchy, traditional worship, set forms of worship, beauty offered to God and a sense of permanence. The expression of a Religious Corporation attempts to express the Christian viewpoint of God into visible, ritualistic forms that have a longterm permanence about them. In the end, this expression of the Religious Corporation emphasises the Infinite - Personal God, the God who is more infinite, intangible and beyond us (transcendent).
By Community, I mean a Religious Community with attributes such as being personal, being social, being personally known and connected to other people and being committed to those people in a definite way. In the final end, it being there for the common good of everyone else. In the end this expression of the Religious Community emphasises the Infinite - Personal God, as the God who is more personal, tangible and amongst us. (Immanent).
2. In August 2007, Harriet and I had a different experience of church, as that of The Church as Community. We were visitors for lunch at the home of Ian and Joan Thomson in Brisbane, Australia. We have known these people for many years but we do not get together very often as they live on the other side of the city to us. After lunch we participated in a small gathering of invited guests along with Ian and Joan and ourselves. The meeting was largely taken by a lady Bessie Pereira visiting from a southern Australian state. Bessie is the director of a ministry called ‘OIKOS’, a ministry directed towards Networking and encouraging New Ways of being Church. ‘Oikos’ as a word is the Greek Word for ‘House’ as used in the New Testament.
The ministry has a website at: http://www.oikos.org.au/
..... The website says:
'DON’T GO TO CHURCH …. BE THE CHURCH! We are a servant ministry seeking to advance God's Kingdom purposes in our land by supporting and encouraging home churches both within and independent of the traditional church'.
Read the website through for a much fuller discussion on our original question: ‘Should our fellowship be in the form of Corporation or that of a Community?’
On House Churches From My friend Bruce Judd in Sydney, Australia:
A few months ago, I had forwarded on an e-mail broadcast to two friends of mine in Australia, Keith Allen (see Keith’s website at: (http://www.emergingthechurch.org.au/) and Bruce Judd as they are both in a transition stage in their Christian spiritual journey between their experiences of the Church as Corporation or that of a Community. The e-mail broadcast was on the situation with the House Church Movement in America via Andrew Strom’s Revival School .… see a small portion of the e-mail below under the House Church Movement in America.
From the e-mail broadcast below I was emphasing the section:
Bottom line: ‘Worldwide, the original church is back, re-creating the biblical model: "Day after day, they met by common consent in the Temple Courts and broke bread from house to house." (Acts 2:46) God is again pouring out His power on plain folks, bringing a megashift – not in our doctrine, but in our entire lifestyle.
A few days later I received a very interesting and thoughtful e-mail reply back from Bruce …… some wise counsel which applies to all of us as to the link between the initial question “Should our fellowship be in the form of Corporation or that of a Community?”:
Associate Professor Bruce Judd B. Arch (Hons)
The main points in his response were these:
…. and later
The Change from Church as Community to the Church as a Corporation:
The present Christian is caught between the historical legacy of two alternatives, that of the early Christian Church and the influence of later centuries. There is a tension between Church as relationships and Church as a rigid organisation. The first leads to a warm, open and communal approach but not necessarily with organisational direction. The second leads to a more corporate approach, more formal but not so communal. It is Christ-ianity as God’s Community with Spirituality versus Church-ianity as Religion or God’s Corporation. The initial Hebrew view of life was very wholistic whereby all aspects of life were unified and were very important to God.
Where this change came from in the history of the Christian Church was from a major change in the 2nd Century from a Hebrew view of life to a view influenced by Greek thinking. People in the church became very dualistic in their thinking whereby:
To look more fully at ‘The Change from Church as Community to the Church as a Corporation’, I suggest you look further at this website ..
The Focus Of Jesus Christ And Of Christianity:
For all the discussion on the Church as Corporation or a Community …. it is irrelevant apart from Jesus Christ as to who He really was … His life, death and resurrection. The Apostle Paul talks about in his letter to the Corinthian Church in the first century in 1Cor 15:12- 28
Jesus didn’t start an organisation but developed relationships with a small core of people. These then multiplied around the then known world (the Roman Empire), into small committed fellowships. In the New Testament Greek, ‘Church’ is translated from the word ‘Ecclesia’ which is simply a gathering or community of relationships. It had no religious connotations at all ….. it could even mean a political gathering.
See this Blog Site ‘Church or Christ?’ via Ian Thomson’ Brisbane, Australia where he says:
‘Certainly the “worship” of national Israel was institutionalised, carried on continually by a clergy group (the Levites and priests) dedicated to elaborate cultic services of the tabernacle and later in the temple – the old dispensation. In the New Testament there is no notion of “going to church”. An ekklesia (a Greek word without any religious connotation translated as “church” in our bibles) did not actually exist as an entity unless people actually gathered eg. in Acts 19:32-39, ekklesia is used for a council, a court and an unruly meeting! Before the gathering, ekklesia exists as an idea only. Because the Christians’ gathering was repeated, ekklesia could also be thought of in abstract, a bit like “the awesome foursome” (Four different high adrenalin activities in Australia: helicopter ride, white water rafting, a huge bungy jump and a huge jetski). We always think of them together’.
To Serve or Be Served? …… A Biblical Vision From Jesus Christ ……
There was a pointed discussion between Jesus and James and John as to ‘Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory’. The discussion and comments from Jesus are given in Mar 10:35 - 45:
The whole point of what Jesus is saying here as it relates to the discussion on ‘Church as Community or Church as a Corporation’ is that the essence is that there is no hierarchy of importance in this new community of Jesus Christ. Instead, the distinguishing mark was to be that of being a servant to others …… our whole purpose in life was to serve the interests of others by giving them value in what we do and say and not seeing ourselves raised up. The phrase: ‘And whosoever, of you will be the chiefest shall be servant of all’ is significant. The word ‘servant’ is from the Greek word ‘Doulos’ meaning to be a slave (literally or figuratively), in an involuntary or voluntary sense, frequently therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subservience.
Our whole purpose as followers of Jesus Christ is look out for the welfare of others ….. not just your own cultural group but all people on the Earth. This quite the opposite of building a hierarchy around us.
In conclusion, the original question was: “Should our fellowship be in the form of Corporation or that of a Community?” The reply back from Bruce Judd was wise counsel which applies to all of us as to the link:
Do you have a way or have you found THE WAY? ….. that is the answer to our original question.