When is a church a church?

This is a re-post of a blog article that I wrote  a couple of years ago.  It’s amazing how pertinent this subject and these questions still are for those of us in ministry and seeking a foundational change in the way that we define and “do” church.

A friend of mine sent me this blog post on church planting yesterday. It’s by far one of the most exciting and challenging articles I’ve read in recent months. It challenges a lot of my perceptions and assumptions about church planting, church leadership, and my definition of “church”.  God has really been stretching and growing me personally in so many ways and with so many of my assumptions where “church” and spiritual life and leadership are concerned. It’s also been helpful that I’ve been teaching a New Testament Survey class to several high schoolers at a local high school. It helps to contextualize the areas where God has been challenging me while I’m teaching others what the Bible says about those very things.

Click here for the post.

Questions to think about as and after you read this article:

1.) How would you define church? What are its core characteristics?

2.) How would you have answered this young couple’s questions? (i.e., Would you have discouraged them from continuing because they were not “trained” or “experienced” enough?  Would you have set a “leader” or “pastor” over them because you felt like they needed additional leadership or traning?)

3.) When is a group of people a church? How often should they meet?  What should happen as part of their gathering?

For further reading, see 1 Corinthians 12-14; Acts 2:42-46.  Also see Neil Cole’s book, Organic Church.