I have been continuing to chew thru Pete Ward’s ideas in Liquid Church and was also having a chat with Phil the other day about them.
It seems – if I read him right – that Ward is suggesting that we do not need to ‘gather’ to be church – that church happens wherever the people of God come together in two or more – no matter what they do funny face free orgazmo download .
Theologically I think he is probably right… (I think…)
So… is there actually a need for Christians to gather in bigger groups at all?
In their book Shaping of Things to Come, Alan hirsch and Mike Frost argue that there are 3 essential elements to church – community, communion and commission – that all three need to be present for a church to be a church.
I agree that these are more or less the essential elements of church (you may express them differently) but my question is do they all need to be present every time we gather for ‘church’ to occur?
I’d think not. And I don’t think Mike and Alan would see it that way either.
So… what makes a prayer triplet different from a worship service, different from barbecue with friends? Is the prayer triplet ‘church’? Is the barbecue ‘church’, even if we don’t pray or study the Bible?
And if these things are then why do we emphasise bigger gatherings so much?
Are they so valuable to us, or do they just make us feel like we’re not alone in this journey?
I don’t ask these questions lightly because where they lead disturbs me. I’m not sure if it disturbs me because church actually must be a big gathering at some point where prayer, worship and bible teaching all occur, or if I am just disturbed because it could mean a very chaotic and un-controllable form of church.
If we go this route then we simply ‘are’ church everywhere we go and every time we meet with other believers.
Is it that simple?