Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live faithfully...in the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pondering Pillars

If you were at Bethany Community Church today, you heard me speak about the four pillars of the church, the four things to which we must commit above all else. We're called to commit to:

1. receiving teaching
2. pursuing fellowship with other Christians
3. meeting Christ in Communion
4. prayer

Here are some questions, for both a virtual discussion, and for Bethany small groups. Feel free to comment because your observations help determine how best to structure our life together in order to assure access to these critical pillars of church life.

1. Which pillar is most challenging for you? Why?
2. Which comes most naturally? Why?
3. What can be done to facilitate these important practices in our life together?

Like food for soil, these elements provide a context for our transformation, health, and fruitfulness. They're surprisingly simple, but church history reveals that we continually struggle with building these elements into our lives, and our life together. I hope and pray that 2009 will result in a greater grounding in each of these disciplines, both for individuals and for churches.

I'm off to Fresno to help my 89 year old mom in a major transition. I'll appreciate your prayers for strength and wisdom through the week, and I'll fly home next Saturday.

Cheers...

1 Comments:

At 3/2/09 07:40, Anonymous Graham said...

1. receiving teaching
2. pursuing fellowship with other Christians
3. meeting Christ in Communion
4. prayer

The easiest is recieving teaching because it can be done passively. Applying teaching and making concious changes in my life is much more difficult. Obviously to fully recieve teaching would mean to allow those changes to occur and to apply it... Prayer seems the most natural out of the four. The pillar I am having trouble with is communion. When I read the Acts 2 passage I read "sitting down and breaking bread together" more literally, meaning fellowship with other believers over a meal, which I'm guessing was their main source of fellowship as they probably didn't have a Wilderness Ministry at that point (maybe John the Baptist did, I'm not sure). I don't want to downplay the sacrament of communion but are we elevating communion over other sacraments, i.e. baptism for example, because communion is more corporate in nature? I love communion, I'm just confused about the "pillar" status. That said, I am for having a communion table set up every week(in addition to "monthly" communion) for people to come forward during the service or after the service, perhaps during a time of response after the sermon, to come forward as a sign of openness to hearing from God.
I've also really appreciated the times of prayer we've had in church corporately and think dedicated times of prayer should happen more often during the service. Maybe this means we only sing 3-4 songs or cut something else out that week. It could be done after the sermon as a time of response, gathering in groups to pray over one another...or spread throughout the service in smaller chunks of time( for example we could go thru "ACTS" [Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication] with a song or prayer or scripture after eaching "letter.")

 

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