Monday, August 20, 2007



Before entering fully into this myth I want to define “church” once more as I did several days ago. Jesus and His disciples used the term “church” in a small “c” way like a gathering or council or assembly of Jesus’ followers that is really an organism consisting mostly of participators and not a big “C” Church that out of necessity becomes an organization consisting mostly of spectators.

Model of Jesus. Jesus never encouraged His followers to plant or build churches. In fact, He never criticized the big “C” Church—the Synagogue—of the day. He never even suggested that His followers should start new synagogues or churches. However, He did encourage His followers to gather together in fellowship with one another. Jesus said, “I will build My church”, so what does He want from you and me? It seems we are to be the church, not to plant one or build one or run one.

Model of the early disciples—No one had as his vocation to plant a church to spread the good news of Jesus and the Kingdom, yet small gatherings of followers of Jesus popped up as Jesus transformed their lives and brought them together in love for Him and one another.

There definitely was a planting in the early days with Jesus, but it wasn’t planting churches. The planting that was going on was the planting of the seed of the good news of Jesus and the Kingdom. Planting was done with all those who were interested—who had ears to hear and eyes to see. NOTE there was a clear warning regarding being caught up with one leader over another—a warning to not wrap your experience with Jesus around men.

Check out what Paul said regarding this very thing in I Corinthians 3 and 4: 4For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not mere men? 5What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. 6I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 8Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.

Building your faith around certain gifted teachers or leaders is building on the wrong foundation. It’s like building a monument to men rather than being caught up in a Jesus movement. It’s important that when you are planting seeds of the good news of Jesus and the Gospel, pray that a Jesus movement might break out.

When you find yourself in a church-building setting, pray that a Jesus movement might break out. When sitting in a small group bible study, pray that a Jesus movement might break out. You see, the most important thing for all of us is to wait on Jesus to lead out and follow Him. Always look around you and see where God is working and go there!

I think we’ve spent too much time building big “C” Churches without practicing being the little “c” church of Jesus wherever we gather together with other followers. This may be over dinner or at the coffee shop or in a small group. In fact, you might find that the best church you went to this week was your time of discussion and fellowship you enjoyed with a few in the courtyard of the big “C” Church. We’ve spent too much time, money and energy building Churches and missing out on the Kingdom of God in our midst—the very presence of the King. Remember, Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in His name, He will show up.”

Don’t build a monument to anyone or anything. Catch up with the Jesus movement. Jesus isn’t looking for anyone to start it or lead it. It’s been going on for quite some time. Jesus is looking for followers!

Churches don’t need to be planted or built. Churches of Jesus’ followers need to be practiced and Jesus Himself will show up!



We’re Just Talking To Ourselves.

There is a nasty rumor that seems to permeate Christianity and has been placed upon anyone who dares to follow Jesus. The rumor is that being religious requires that you remain in your holy huddle of safety and from time to time do sneak attacks, seeking to capture others and bring them back into the holy huddle where people can become just like you and your group.

Many who claim to be followers of Jesus learn to talk funny. It’s almost a language all its own. I call it Christianese. When we speak in this code lingo, we leave a lot of people outside looking in.

We act as if we are in a club with a secret handshake, our own special music and our family terminology. The problem is that when we talk funny, we end up only talking to those who can speak the language. In essence when you use Christianese, you will find that you’re just talking to yourselves.

By Christianese I mean more than just using certain lingo. There is another dimension of Christianese and that is the need to sell others that you are right. By the way, when you are right, all others are wrong. This kind of thinking leads to debating over the most ridiculous things. When you are into Christianese, you are looking for things to debate—creation, prophecy, and other doctrinal beliefs. All sets of beliefs are secondary to the primary focus upon Jesus.

One more dimension of Christianese is the sense that being a Western cultural Christian is the only way to God. We see this demonstrated in our missions approach. We introduce Western cultural Christian songs in every culture of the world as if they will identify with these as we have, but in their language. Why do we feel that the song “Amazing Grace” is something the new culture needs to have in their culture? Why not challenge them to use their own musical themes to write new songs that are more appropriate to the culture? It’s so easy to think that our way is the right way for everyone and it is not!

Those who are caught up in Christianese tend to overuse the term Christian. In fact, it’s easy to think that “Christ” is Jesus’ last name. It’s not a last name, but a title. Jesus is the Messiah or the Christ, so it is literally Jesus, the Christ.

Christians believe that Jesus was either the founder of Christianity or that Christians somehow own Jesus. What we must keep in perspective is that Jesus never was a Christian nor does He want to become one. Jesus never even used the term and yet we have people throughout the world being persecuted for being Christians and performing “Christian” activities that Jesus never did or would have done. This is what my son-in-law calls, “Doing missionary work the hard way.”

Jesus is so much greater than Western cultural Christianity that people are being persecuted for. What’s interesting to me is that I don’t know anyone today who is being persecuted for being a follower of Jesus. In fact, I am personally working with Buddhists, Hindu, Moslem, Jewish and Christians who are followers of Jesus, yet are totally accepted within their religious and cultural communities.

The problem with Christianity and the Christianizing of Jesus is that it tends to miss the simplicity and purity of simply Jesus and moves people into BEING RELIGIOUS. Jesus is not religious. He is relational and must find personal connection with each person in each culture and religious persuasion. Christianese denies this possibility.

Here’s the bottom-line: We tend to talk to ourselves and judge the world, when we ought to be judging ourselves and talking to the world in their language, culture and religious background. So, stop speaking Christianese, but speak real, live, down-to-earth language about real life. To speak in Christianese will limit your communication. To speak in terms of Jesus will prove to be the most attractive communication you’ve ever used.