Here is a good question, one that I ask myself regularly—Why do we need to wait until next February to start worship services? The simplest answer to the question is this: We need to” be the church” before we can “have church.”
In some ways, the most determinative, the most exciting and most formational moments of the church will be in our nine month gestation period before services, when we form as a community and begin living out what it means to be the church together. From there, what happens on Sundays and what happens as we grow out from there will be shaped by what happens before. So what we do now must be done with great care because that will shape what we exponentially become. Two points make a line and so now is the time that we must get ourselves pointed in the right direction.
So what will we do in order to “Be the church?”
We will form into a new family. We will build friendships with each other and we will build community with each other and be the church to one another. We will form groups and build the kind of community that honors the “one another” teaching of the New Testament. Our ability to herald the life transformational message of the love God will be on display in the way we love one another. So we need to do this—it will be fun.
We will form into a launch team. We are going to do stuff together and learn about West Chester and the surrounding community. We will start exercising Biblical faith together, engaging in basic practices like reading scripture together, praying together and serving our community together. We will do this as a large group but also find smaller group ways to do this as well.
We will form into a Body. Each church represents the “Body of Christ” uniquely, but just like the body, there are many parts and every part is needed to function within the whole organization. Over time, we will recruit leaders to lead, each person will find their role and we together will expand our capacity to care, becoming greater than the sum of our parts as each part uses his or her gifts to serve the whole. And we will fund this together as each part gives joyfully what God puts on their heart to give.
We will extend ourselves beyond our natural boundaries. We will do our best to be a diverse expression of God’s people and that means generationally, ethnically, socio-economically and spiritually diverse. Yes, we want as many non-Christians to be a part of the launch team as possible. If they can’t get with us now, our cool music and face-melting preaching :) won’t make it any different.
One more thing: I wrote something up on the blog a few weeks ago about Frequently Asked Questions. Check it out or forward it along to anyone else who is curious.