Pastor’s Blog August 2107

I ended last month’s post by suggesting that we should be asking ourselves the question, how can we be an authentic church, a genuinely alternative community, seeking to live under the Lordship of Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit?

During the course of my 28 years in full time ministry, one of the reoccurring discussions is the issue of relevance. How can the church be relevant to modern people?

Many answers have been offered to this question, in some church traditions, the answer it is thought lies in removing from Christianity all the things that modern people cannot accept. This ranges from the miraculous to traditional views on sex and marriage. To be relevant is to be just like the world.

Another approach has been the “seeker sensitive” approach. In which church services are designed with the unchurched in mind. While there is much to learn from this approach it is still far from a satisfactory answer.

My conviction is that the church must risk irrelevance in order to be truly relevant. Jesus’ call to his disciples is to live the life of the Kingdom of God in the here and now. In all most all cultures such a life will be counter to the prevailing culture, both affirming some aspects of a culture but challenging many others. The church only becomes relevant as we are true to our calling, to be a genuinely alternative community, seeking to live under the Lordship of Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

When I study Acts, as we will be doing in the next 8 weeks, I am not reading mere history, the account of what the early church did but I’m reading a blueprint and textbook for what the church should be in every generation.

In Acts 2:42-47, Luke records the very earliest days of the church, perhaps v42 gives us the clearest answer to the question I posed at the beginning of this blog. How can we be an authentic church, a genuinely alternative community?

By believing in Jesus Christ, being filled with the Holy Spirit and devoted to the apostles teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. These I would suggest are the foundations on which an authentic and ultimately relevant church are built. We will explore these further next month.

Phil Dixon