What do you think the church is? Is it building? A religion? A community? Does it have a positive impact on the world around us, or a negative impact?
Each of us has a different experience of church and it's people and this shapes what we believe the Church is.
The first time "the Church" is mentioned is in Matthew 16.
"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
Some people believe this to mean that a church building was to be built on the grave of Peter (perhaps you’ve read about that in a Dan Brown book) but that’s not what Jesus is saying. Peter, for the first time, recognised fully who Jesus was - the Messiah, the Son of the living God. The "rock that is being built on" is the understanding of who Jesus is.The church that is being built is not perhaps what we understand it to be. The actual word Jesus used the word was a Greek word ECCLESIA, which means "gathering or an assembly of people called out for a purpose". It’s not a physical location but a group of people who have been called out of their everyday life for a purpose. People would join the assembly when they heard the call. For example - during wartime people walked down the streets calling out that they were going to war and people who wanted to be soldiers would come out to meet them and join the ecclesia.
The church we want to start isn’t about a building or a location. It’s an ECCLESIA, a gathering of people who have heard the call - that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God, and it’s given them purpose.
So what is The Church Project? I believe it’s the way we can call people out and to share our purpose. It would be pretty crazy if I just walked down the street yelling at people, trying to get them to leave their house to come get involved. As a matter of fact, I personally would go out of my way to avoid people like that. The Church Project is the vehicle (and very 21st century way) we can use to share the specific purpose of this new church we want to start, that will one day become a gathered assembly of people with a common purpose.
I’m hoping The Church Project can also be a place where we can have a conversation about the church - the positive and negative experiences people have had with it. Where we dream about what it can be and what a new church could look like in the year 2017 and beyond.
So if you want to see what we’ve been working on - please follow us! If you're interested in this discussion, please engage in the conversation! And if you hear the call to be a part of it - we’d love you to join us.