A NEW LEARNING
I have been a church man, a former pastor and denominational executive. Over a forty year span I designed, wrote, developed and implemented programs with the best of church leaders. The well intentioned programs always required scheduled meetings of the intended beneficiaries. I kept people busy, myself included. I am contemplative now, less defensive of the status quo.
Recently I was given a webpage article to read, entitled The Danger of Meetings. The author Alan Richardson is one of many spokespeople who are concerned that Christianity has become defined by meetings and programs and buildings and budgets. He has not criticized anything that has not been faulted before and he makes some valid points. When Christian faith pivots around meetings, church people assess one another on the basis of attendance and performance. A meeting focused Christianity causes us to become inward looking with little time for relationships outside the church building. A meeting based Christianity may even hinder rather than help us to find a complete Christian life. In fact we can become meeting focused rather than Christ focused.
Christian leaders of existing churches can and must take corrective actions to minimize this insular posture. Some leaders, particularly younger ones have already broken away from traditional models of church to start models that are relational and fresh and vitally accenting relationship. Some are opting for house churches which determine to be less structured. The extreme danger of critical thinking about church is to go it alone. The solitary Christian disassociated from other believers is biblically unsupportable.
Here is my own list of truth points relative to meetings and faith.
1. Christianity is not defined by meeting attendance.
2. Following Christ is not to be equated with attendance at meetings.
3. Meeting attendance is no substitute for relationship with Christ.
4. It is improper to assess one’s own or another person’s spirituality or leadership competence on the basis of meeting attendance.
5. The work of God is not only with the individual but also within the context of the corporate church, so the gathering of believers is valid.
6. The gathering ideally consists of people who are committed to life giving and life promoting relationships in which they love one another as Christ loves them, open, embracing, forgiving, and love those outside the church for the sake of Christ.
Here is that webpage 'The Danger of Meetings' The paintings were done by Nathan Greene and Morgan Weistling and their work as well as others' can be seen on Christ Centred Art.