1. Obliterate and repent of all semblances of an ecclesiastical caste system.
Any distinction, either by action or thought which conveys that there is a clergy class and a laity class must be questioned, challenged, disturbed, provoked, captured, and killed. If this sounds too violent, revolutionary, or subversive, then consider it more like a mercy killing, an assisted suicide, or a qualitative end of life issue. I suppose we can let the system die with dignity, but that assumes there was any ever dignity in it. Notice I never said that any person should be assaulted or abused in any way. Extending mercy, being at peace, and esteeming others higher than ourselves should always prevail. (James 2:13) (Romans 12:18) (Philippians 2:1-7) If however, a “captain” wants to go down with his ship, then there’s little that anyone can do but to toss a life-preserver or head up a rescue operation afterwards. Congregations are complicit too. Church committees and congregations come up with astronomical job descriptions for super-professionals to fill. They’re looking for the best and most qualified people to do what they don’t want to do and relieve themselves of the responsibility and freedom. The clergy class can only take the power that the laity class sacrifices to them on their man-made altars.
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2. Stop facing front and face each other.
First things first. Detonate, destroy, and disassemble the pulpit. When all eyes are focused towards the front, they’re not focused on Jesus or His people. How many ‘church’ hours of a Christian’s life is spent looking at the back of another’s head instead of into one another’s eyes? How are you suppose to weep with those who weep if you’re not willing to face those with faces? Jesus looks on people with compassion.
Tear down the stage and any other platforms that separate the body of Christ. Put the worship bands and choirs in another room where no one can see them and pipe the music in. Better yet create environments for spontaneous flash mob worship events. Why do you need a “show” in order to collectively worship God? Take the big screen down from the right hand side of the church and begin extending the right hand of fellowship.
Change the church’s shape. Get rid of squares and rectangles and sharp corners. Round out its edges. Form circles and spheres so that people can see one another, share with one another, and truly be amongst one another. Color outside the lines. Establish circular frameworks instead of boxy containments. Make “the front of the church” indistinguishable from the rest of it. Design the gathering place where the church (the people) are all equally accessible and approachable. “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…” (1 Timothy 2:5), and yet we keep building physical structures and furniture to suggest that there are myriads of mediators.
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3. Go on Sabbatical. Fast from Church
Stop going to church! Yes, you read that right. Just stop. Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves (Hebrews 10:25), but stop being corralled, lined up, controlled and inoculated. Find some local people, you know, like your neighbors, the ones you’re supposed to be loving, and live life with them. Be salt and light. Take the Gospel to go instead of eating in. Take a short, or long sabbatical from the ‘it’ of what you call church and seek the who of ‘it.’ Take others with you. Don’t go it alone. Take this sabbatical with two or more. Never leave a person behind. Be polite and leave quietly.
Don’t become a sage or guru while you’re on sabbatical. Don’t isolate yourselves. You’ve had enough of that in the system. Seek out others who are also on sabbatical. Discover your gifts. Exercise them! Don’t feed grudges, forget them. Heal those chips on shoulders and bury those axes to grind. God’s got your back. Go to a land that He will show you. Take what He tells you. Don’t take a sabbatical from being a disciple of Jesus. Take a sabbatical from the system that wants to make you a disciple of it. ‘Church’ is supposed to be a bunch of already made disciples taking a break from mission and gathering together for worship, encouragement, and the equipping for more mission (Ephesians 4:12), not more ‘church.’
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4. Learn a new language.
Unlearn your clichés. Ask yourself what is “The Gospel?” What is “The Kingdom?” What does it mean to “Make Disciples?” Put away your ‘normal’ bible and read a different version. Listen much and talk little. (James 1:19) Learn the language of quietness. Listen to yourself and change your theological accent. Work on your vocabulary. Go to where people speak differently. Immerse yourself in them. Learn the language of other generations like the elderly and the young. Tell others stories. Tell yourself new stories. Be ready, as much as you are able, to speak to the 5 year olds and the Stephen Hawkings of the world. Listen to new music, read poetry, and familiarize yourself with the language of those politically opposed to you. Look around you and see what creation has to say. Consider the ants and the stars, and the homeless. Speak the gospel to yourself in the mirror and see if you believe it. Do your facial expressions match your message? Keep a journal of words you hear whose definitions you’re not sure of. Be honest with yourself.
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5. Do Justice /Mission
Only those with the luxury of having little to do can sit around and contemplate concepts such as social justice verses evangelism. Life lived in and amongst people within the sphere of your influence. Seek out those blurry places where the lines between “us & them” are unclear. Stay in motion. Keep moving until the Lord has you take a seat or a knee, or even a stand. Go and explore, as much as you are able the fringes of society. Embrace your sent-ness. (John 20:21) Find every opportunity to do church as you are going, on the way, and while you’re already in motion. Don’t be anarchists without also being strategists.
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These 5 things can be done behind the scenes, but not likely. Those who seek to topple church regimes will often be counted as heretics, hurtful, or just heinous. Not everyone can pursue these paths. If your church isn’t a regime, then great! But if it is, then wait, watch and listen. There will be others who are ready to join you. Strengthen and encourage one another. God will repeatedly destroy Jerusalems that do not serve Him. He will remove their lamp stands. He will raze them in order to raise them again.