In my last article, I shared my thoughts on the Great Commandment and why the new commandment Jesus left with his followers prior to going to the cross is a better foundation for the Church. Today I would like to share with you a short video that explains simple church visually in light of this new commandment foundation. Hopefully this visual can be a tool you can replicate on a napkin or piece of paper when sharing the idea of simple church with friends and family.
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When many people hear the word “Church” they think about a building or a service to attend. “There is my church,” or “Time to go to church,” are ways the word has become ingrained into our speech and understanding. Instead of a meeting, building or organization, simple church seeks to recapture the simplicity of seeing and experiencing the local church as a family (verse)…
What kind of family is the church? Just before Jesus left this earth, he gave a “new commandment” to his followers. “As i have loved you, so love one another.” The new testament church was to be a family that was primarily about receiving Jesus’s love (RL) and then extending His love to others (LO). This experience would fulfill his mission of “making disciples of all the nations” (MD). So a local church, in its simplest form, can be understood as a family of people Receiving Jesus Love, sharing His love through relationships with others, and making disciples of all the nations as we go through life.
Rather than a denomination or organization, a simple church primarily identifies itself with the Kingdom that Jesus spoke about. It’s hard for us today to wrap our minds around Jesus’s Kingdom in part because we tend to think of Kings as bad… But Jesus is a perfect, loving, compassionate, generous King that power can not corrupt and who lays his life down for His people. A simple church family looks to Jesus for wisdom and guidance in all matters.
While not fully realized until He returns, Jesus proclaimed that his Kingdom was at hand now! Rather than a well-defined organization, His Kingdom is much more akin to a body or a living organism that is moving and shifting on the earth as His people Go about their daily lives. Simple church families can experience His kingdom daily in any location where Jesus is followed as King.
But for centuries, Christians have tried to characterize His church in more rigid ways
Today we often try to add as a necessity to a local church family buildings, budgets, programs, and professionals. While these additions can be a blessing, sometimes they can serve as a distraction from the church receiving and giving His love, and fulfilling His Great Commission. And sometimes these structures can actually have nothing to do with His Kingdom at all.
In a simple church, we seek to function as a family of people following King Jesus without these added elements in an attempt to focus our attention on the essentials.
While simple churches may meet in homes, around dinner tables, or in ways that may look more like a family reunion or get together, the focus is not primarily on a weekly meeting. Rather, the simple church is about a way of life where we seek to follow King Jesus together as a family in His Kingdom–receiving HIs love, sharing it with others, and making disciples along the way.
This is what we mean when we say “simple church”… and hopefully this video makes simple church simpler for you to understand.