Relationships before location

January 1, 0001

Church is not a building, a location, a program or a corporation. To confuse a church with those things is like confusing a nation with its current political or economic system. China, Russia and Albania have changed systems but remain China, Russia and Albania.The church is the ekklesia–the community, the fellowship, the family of believers. This community is more than a club: it’s a representation, a “localized instance” of the Kingdom of His on Earth. Therefore its members do certain key Kingdom activities together–things like witnessing, the one anothers, making disciples, standing for the poor and oppressed, and so on. “Planting a church” when we bear this definition in mind should not start with buildings or budgets or schedules or programs. Those are logistics. It must begin with people in relationship with each other. When we start a church by inviting a lot of disconnected people to a service–I wonder if at the foundation we aren’t falling for the temptation to start with logistics first. “Get the logistics right and the people will get in the same room; get enough people and they will form enough relationships to stick together.” But maybe if we stated small: get the relationship building piece right first, and you’ll have a community that wants to be together badly enough to solve the logistical challenges. They will put relationships over logistical decisions and perhaps be less apt to split off over things like location, or building or worship style, etc. Plus, get the relationship and disciplemaking piece right and you have a never ending source both of new members invited in and new leaders raised up.