Should church be academic or epidemic? Should it be based on the transfer of religious knowledge or on an ongoing contagion of spiritual life spreading like raging fire?
Here is a quotation from Paul of Tarsus, the church planter who established many of the first Christian churches and wrote most of the New Testament: “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” Yet, nowadays, we seem to have ignored Paul’s words and turned church into a time of listening to information rather than a lab to practice the lifestyle of spiritual formation. Contemporary church tends to give us talk rather than transformation and serve us sermons rather than inflaming our hearts with passion for God.
However, if you read the Book of Acts in the Bible, church was much more lab than lecture. It was demonstrative, hands-on activity more than informative, laid-back passivity.
Church was votech much more than intellect. Here is another quote from Paul, the apostle: “Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things.” This votech type of experiential learning was called making disciples. Christians were to train to live a spiritual lifestyle and then learn how to reproduce that spiritual lifestyle in others.
Isn’t it time for the church to return to the Great Commission that Jesus gave us? He said: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations.” Disciples are disciplined followers rather than mental adherents. More than merely accepting and/or agreeing to Biblical doctrines; disciples continually train themselves to be spiritual athletes who actually follow and obey Jesus Christ in their daily lives. Disciples move beyond religious creed into holy deed.
John the Beloved said: “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and truth.” Isn’t it time to change church from laid-back lecture into living love lab; from dry intellect to Christian votech; from academic study to Holy Spirit epidemic; and from information to formation within?
If you live in the Nashville, Tennessee area and would like to visit a church that is seeking to make this change (sometimes called organic church, simple church, or house church), visit The Salvation Army Berry Street Worship Center, 225 Berry St., Nashville, 37207 on Sundays at 10:45am and Thursdays at 6:30 pm.