What if church, the gathering of God’s people in a particular local, was supposed to be a temporary thing, a seasonal ecosystem that cycled through life and death, or a snapshot of ecclesiastical, historical, and geographical history. I know, ‘church’ is not a place, it’s a people. We all say that, but still act as if it is a place. Church Planters, if we’re honest, are still primarily about planting places and not people. They have a view towards the long play or extended version of the local church. They speak of ‘5 year plans’ without consideration that God’s purpose for a particular people in a particular place may be much less than that.
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.”
What if a local church plant had to die in order to produce many new kernels? I’m not wishing ill will towards any local congregation or suggesting that it dies before it’s time from malnourishment, drought, or disease. I’m simply proposing that the local ekklesia (church) may be a lot more temporary than we’re willing to consider. If we were sensitive to the move of the Spirit, we might not spend so much time trying to build containers around His current movements.
A few Questions:
Am I totally off base here?
If we just focused, as a body, on the Making of Disciples, then would it matter if our local churches didn’t last as long as we wanted them to?
How can we know if a local congregation is dying a good death?