Im Not a Model… You Know What I Mean?

Many people I run into, and who read this blog, are confused about church (as am I).  I think there is a huge misconception of what I am writing about and what I am advocating for.  This blog is entirely about the BS that goes on within the walls of the institutional church (or pretty much any institutional model really).  It is never about the people.  I love the people, it is the systems that make me break out in hives. 

Well, I am going to try to clear some things up in this post.  And “try” is a big word.  It is difficult to express in words sometimes.  I am sure it will be clear as mud when I am finished.

People rightly assume that I believe the institutional church system is downright destructive, causes separation among the people, promotes individualism, has a disease called “Jesus-Deficit-Disorder”, and breeds legalism.  If you read my other posts among this blog, you will see where I am coming from.  However, many of you I speak with or chat with online seem to assume that if I am against the institutional church model, then I must be for the “organic church model” or the “house church model” or some other “model”. 

This is where the misconception lies, and I want to clear some things up.  I am not for ANY freaking model.  People tell me I should try “this” model or simply adopt some other model.  Well I think any type of “model” is a bunch of bullshit.  Organic, house, or some other adjective church is not what I am advocating. 

Before we move on, let’s talk about the term “house church”… what in the hell does that mean?  Would I call the church I used to attend a “big-ass building church”?  Would we call a church in China that hides underground a “sewer church”.  Why does most of the local church community obsess with defining a church by the location in which it is held.  Who gives a rat’s ass where to meet together, just meet together.  I think the way people define “church” reveals a ton about what they believe the actual church to be.  Just ask someone.  the answers will astound you.   

I want to step out there and say to everyone that reads my blogs and emails and talks to me on the street.  I am not looking for or asking anyone to come up with another “church model”.  I am so sick and tired of people obsessing with how something is supposed to work.  I would like for people to focus more on “why” they are doing what they are doing, and is what they are actually doing make sense.  Ask yourself what you are really doing, and then answer yourself…honestly.  If I said to someone I attended a “house church”, the first thing they will ask is.. “well, how does that work?”.  Who gives a shit how it works.  We should not be gathering to figure out how things should be run.  If that is the case, in time we will have built ourselves another stupid “model” that will be sure to fail.

That is exactly what a lot of “big-ass building churches” are doing.  They have found other “organic” or “house” church models that seem to be working (because people are leaving), so they will set up a new age looking model where you can have “organic” or “house” church styles inside the institutional walls.  They do not want you to leave the institution.  If you leave the funds dry up.  The institutional church is the forever changing model (as long as the marketing department runs the show).   

Well, below is my “try” answer to everyone that asks me or tells me I should seek another “church” or another “model”….

There is a huge problem going on out there in “ChristianLand”.  I do not think the church is in need of anymore models or systems, but rather it is in a desperate need of a ginormous VISION of who Jesus Christ really is.  Just live life together as His Body in community.  I see a church with no models, I see church as a bunch of people gathering or assembling together to BE Christ’s actual body, by having Him work through us so others can see and experience the “Allness” of God”, which is simply love, not a human-made model of love.

What VISION do I advocate.  Each individual person within His Body has a direct and intimate connection to the Head (who is Christ).  This is a wonderful way to understand who Jesus Christ IS.  There is no one body part (or person) that acts as a centerpiece that relays information from the head (Christ) to the individual body parts (people).  There is no part that acts as the ‘go-between’ part.  Each person, or part of the His Body has a direct nerve access line to the head!  There is no ‘select body part’ who’s job it is to determine what the head is communicating. 

Again, each part has access to the head.  To me this is key and is what is missing within the institutional walls.  This is key, not just for the overall health of the individual body parts, but the Body as a whole.  This is why no other body part can masquerade as the head, and why there must be nothing blocking connection from the head to the individual parts, and all these human-made models, systems, and all these so-called adjective churches are blocking the connection.  The people are there, but Christ sure is not.

Together we are Christ in action, so stop asking me to join, find, create, or try any other churches or church models.  The Church already exists, and I am already part of that Body.

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16 thoughts on “Im Not a Model… You Know What I Mean?

  1. I just came across this, thanks! Jesus’ body was broken so ours would not have to be. How can we, the church, be the body of Christ, when he has conqoured brokeness forever? Good, thanks!

  2. I must agree with your topic here.
    It makes me wonder how many really know what it means to be a ‘follower of Christ’. He did not come to make denominations, buildings, etc. but He did say, “follow Me”. In fact He said,“If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”
    He did not call us to follow any model except Him.

  3. Hi Swanny,

    I know what you are getting at when you say, “There is no part that acts as the ‘go-between’” I applaud when you underscore Jesus is the Head to whom each of us MUST be connected. AND I agree that is largely missing in the institutional church, with “clergy” inserted between the saints and the Head of the church.

    Tear that wall down!

    I do fear we can also go too far if we set aside the interdependence we have on God to give to us parts of what we need through others (1 Cor 12:23-25, for example). Dismissing our interdependence and refusing to recognize that we all provide a channel from God to one another in various ways, can promote the same sort of individualism you note in the institutional church system. This time, instead of dismissing our connection to the Head, we might create a new type of individualism where we dismiss our need for connection to one another.

    Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; II Cor 7:6

    Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? I Thess 3:10

    Each believer is directly connected to the Head, but He may give to you something I need, and to me, something Bob needs, etc, so that we become interconnected and interdependent, yet Christ is the Head and none other.

    1. Art – I agree 100%. Individualism is a disease that harms outside the institutional walls too.

      We can not be individual parts. Individual parts can not work by themselves. Let me use a cheesy example. If I am a hand, and you are a foot. I need you to walk me somewhere, so I can pick up what you need… otherwise I am a dead head laying on the ground.

      The parts must work together for the body to function.

      Your point is very important.

  4. It’s not cheesy. Think about God’s creation there. What part of your body can you not cut off and still live (theoretically)? Same part that tells the other parts what to do. You can’t be a dead head. But if you cut the head off, you die.

  5. I followed a link here from Arther Sido’s blog. Good comments. I think ppl carry the “model” idea or expected behaviors with them from the institutional gatherings and unknowingly institutionalize the other types of churches. I know I have. It’s something we have to pro-actively work toward changing in ourselves first so that our Christian gatherings can be more Christ-like.

  6. Brian, (or do you prefer Swanny?) just surfing around your posts here. I think a lot of other ppl feel the same way you do, especially if Barna is right and there really are a million people leaving the institutional church a year. Have you been able to connect with other local like minded Christians where you live?

    1. Seth – Yes I have connected here and there with others.. but am currently sorting things out as I as I wander the post-institutional wilderness.

      The weird thing is where I live seems to be the land of institutional thinking. Most people I run into think I am a heathen.. which is a shame, because I do not see them that way even though they attend a “church” service.

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