And so I said:
We must never become religious people! It is just unthinkable that the church should ever become religious! Can you imagine what that might do to the mission of the church? To the way we partner with God, the way we allow him to lead us in his direction rather than our own, the way we might end up trying to do church rather than be the church! It would be a disaster!
First of all we’d end up with thousands of denominations distinguished by minor variations in practice and belief. Second we’d become institutionalised and bound by historical ways of doing things that might have no relevance to the present society in which we find ourselves.
Thirdly, we’d probably become deeply concerned about being pushed to the margins when we always thought we should be centre-stage. Fourthly, we’d limit our vision of what we could do to match the budget we have available. The church would become a business to run or a machine to maintain.
There could be all sorts of unthinkable repercussions if the church ever fell into the hands of religious people. We must never let that happen.
The problem is that it has happened. We have become religious people and we must rediscover what it means to be the church that Jesus wants us to be. I pointed to Acts 2 and used the outline I've heard Bill Hybels use before to describe the church. We talked about the principle of everyone that says that everyone has the Spirit in equal measure and a gift to be used or the common good.
I ended with a call to:
- Be available to God
- To listen for his whisper to guide and direct
- To commit to obedience to the whisper when it comes