what does church look like? part two

August 29, 2004

Some continuing thoughts from the previous entry

Why do I feel drawn to less structure within church?
Structure within churches has been something that has turned off many. It is at the core of the argument for those who want no part of ‘organized religion’. Structures can become corrupt, but we shouldn’t assume that all structure is therefore evil. Quite the opposite, I think that there is a form of structure that is defined for us in the Bible that is a vital part of what needs to be included in a church. It is not a structure of hierarchy (which is really what turns most people off) — it is a supernatural structure of giftedness.

God created us to all be a part of the church structure by contributing our gifts. I think it is pretty clear that he did this so that we would need each other, and not go about following Jesus alone. It seems to me that the usage of gifts is critical to creating a genuine community as God intended it. 1 Corinthians 12:7 points out that gifts are given for the benefit of all. We also have a responsibility, according to 1 Peter 4:10, to use our gifts for the benefit of others.

There is a supernatural structure that is already in place. I’m not sure what it has to look like, but it brings up many questions. I’m just going to ask them for now…maybe I can share more thoughts on them later. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your feedback as I try to hammer out what this can/should look like.

  • Is a community incomplete unless all the gifts mentioned in Scripture are present within it?
  • If not all the gifts are necessary to form a complete community, are there core gifts that need to be present?
  • If we are in a community where we don’t have an opportunity to share our gifts, are we really in genuine community?
  • Here’s one I’ve been rethinking of late — When 1 Corinthians 12:7 says that the gifts are for the common good, is that for the common good of fellow believers, or the common good of the world?

Note: There is still more to the structure conversation — I’ve just chosen to focus on the gifts part. However, this is clearly a precendent in Scripture for some to take shepherding/leading roles of some sort. I’ll just have to tackle that another time… (My “Things to Think About Later” list is getting longer!)

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