Xtreme sports are a recent invention; however Xtreme church has existed from time to time since the earliest Christ-followers were scattered out of Jerusalem, became extreme, and turned the world upside down.
One example of Xtreme church began 150 years ago (this year/2015) in London by William and Catherine Booth. It restructured church into an extreme army for God expressed in military terminology, which they called The Salvation Army. In the early Salvation Army:
* Members were made into soldiers;
* Pastors were turned into officers;
* Hymns were replaced by popular bar songs sung with spiritual warfare words;
* Church organs were exchanged for brass bands playing military style music;
* Quiet religion was replaced by aggressive Christianity:
* Prayer meetings were transformed into knee drills;
* Going to Heaven was called Promoted to Glory;
* Evangelism was changed into invading neighborhoods, cities, and countries;
* Testifying (or individual/free expression in a meeting) became firing a volley.
* Church buildings were called citadels; and churches became corps;
* Church services became corps meetings;
* Enrolling new members was replaced with swearing-in new soldiers;
* Membership requirements were exchanged for a Soldier’s Covenant;
* Tithing was called firing a cartridge;
* Ministry students were turned into cadets;
* Seminary became officer training college;
* Ordination became commissioning;
* Regional meetings were turned into war councils;
* Newsletters/magazines became The War Cry:
* Parsonages became quarters;
* Many other aspects of the military were adopted in order to reach and serve non-believers, including: A) a spiritual warfare battle flag; B) open-airs (outdoor) meetings; C) military style uniforms for soldiers; D) Articles of War; E) a Disposition of Forces; F) farewell orders; G) disaster relief; H) soup kitchens; I) homeless shelters; J) a crest; K) military ranks; and L) a Red Shield.
All of these developments were a radical departure from the traditional church of the time period. However, these changes turned The Salvation Army into a powerful Christian movement that spread around the world. Today the Army is serving in more than 120 countries and has 1,150,000 soldiers around the world.
Perhaps the 21st Century church could learn from the Booths’ innovations and once again restructure itself into Xtreme faith. An example of contemporary restructuring of the church is participatory/organic church.
Read more about Xtreme church in my book, Beyond Church An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible–Ekklesia @ this link. Also, check out the War Cry review of Beyond Church in their Intersection pull-out section by clicking here.
If you would like to experience a participatory church meeting (where ordinary people show and tell what God has done) visit The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry St., Nashville, Tennessee, 37207 on Sunday mornings at 10:45 am.