That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.
// Acts 2:41-42 [MSG]
I love church. For me, the concept of ‘Church’ is as simple as ‘the Body gathered’. When we choose to view Church differently, we begin to love it.
You could see Church as an organization, a dictatorship (!!), a place or a building, but from a biblical perspective, the Church are believers gathered and living in community.
When I was a kid, we used to play a game called ‘chinese whispers’. We would sit in a circle and one person would whisper a phrase to the person sitting next to them, who in turn would whisper what they heard to the person next to them, and the game continued. Finally, the last person would recite out loud what they had been told and it was always hilarious, because it would be a warped, strange, confusing statement that either meant nothing or completely changed the meaning of the first statement.
With all it’s value and richness, I think history, culture and tradition can also be a little like a game of ‘chinese whispers’. After a while, the things we do can lose their true meaning and purpose if we just continue doing them a certain way, thinking, ‘It’s just the way we do things, we always have and we always will’. I love and believe in tradition, but I don’t believe Church should be limited to doing things the way we always have.
We can see in Acts 2:41-42 that the beginning of the Church meant four commitments: to leaders teaching, doing life together, eating together and prayer. It was as simple as that. There should be purpose and deep meaning behind everything we do, which dictates the ‘way’ in which we do things. We should simply be ‘the Body gathered’ and let the ‘method’ flow out of that. To me, the message is sacred, the method is not. The method should be determined by what the message requires.
Josh and I came to New York to plant a church – we honestly had no desire to copy anyone else. We obviously carry a culture that has been imparted to us through our C3 leaders and we are a C3 Church under the leadership of Pastors Phil and Chris Pringle, but we made a decision that the method is definitely not sacred but the message is. And we are thankful that we are part of a movement of churches that encourages freedom of expression in various cultural contexts. I’ve visited C3 Churches all over the world and we are not cookie-cutter churches – we are churches that are unique to our context, location and people. C3 Churches in Northern Uganda look a lot different from C3 Brooklyn, but we have the same heart and vision.
Church is so much more dynamic this way. It truly allows room for the Lord to have His way and lead us in the best methods of communicating the Message. Our community has grown in a very natural, organic, fun way – when our apartment was jam-packed with 60 people each week last year, we knew we had to step out and hire a weekly venue, so we did. Then we grew more, so we added another service this year. It’s exciting to me that the Church, the Body of Christ, is growing, moving, evolving and changing every day! Each week I don’t know who I’m going to meet at church!
When I was a kid I found Church incredibly boring, but as I’ve grown older I’ve learned that Church is anything but boring!
// Georgie Kelsey