Wednesday, November 16, 2016
How do you know if your church is really the Body of Christ?
This weekend I was blessed to fly to the San Francisco area to co-lead a weekend gathering for those interested in learning more about Organic Church.
Our event was hosted at a local pizza shop. The sign on the door said “Round Table Pizza” but on the inside all the tables were square.
To me, that felt like an appropriate metaphor of the modern Christian church in America.
We advertise ourselves as being “The Body of Christ” but then once people get inside they quickly realize that we’re not acting like a body at all.
See, when Paul uses that metaphor in 1 Corinthians 12, he is describing how the Church functions in relationship to Jesus, and to one another.
Any church that doesn’t operate the way Paul describes isn’t really the Body of Christ. Sure, it might be a Church in the traditional sense, but it’s not a Body in the Biblical sense.
Simply put, Paul tells us that Jesus is the head of the Body. That means that He is in control. Not figuratively, but actually. He is in charge. He directs the members of the Body, just as your own head directs the rest of your body parts.
We also see from Paul’s description that the members of the Body all share the ministry equally.
God distributes spiritual gifts to each member of the Body for one reason: So they can build one another up into Christ.
In the round table model, everyone is equal; everyone’s voice is just as important and necessary as everyone else’s. Every member of the Body shares in the work so no one gets burned out and everyone gets to participate.
In the square table model, there is a human boss, typically referred to as the Senior Pastor, who makes all the decisions and quite often does most of the spiritual work alone rather than relying on the members of the Body to accomplish the work cooperatively. You know, like the various parts of a human body.
If you’re going to follow a square table model, that’s up to you. But please don’t refer to yourself as a round table when those four corners are so obvious to the rest of us.
For what it’s worth, both tables are useful, but one makes it easier for everyone to serve one another and use their gifts to build one another up.
If you want to keep your focus on the Lord, try putting 1 Corinthians 12 into practice.
If you want to put that chapter into practice, you’ll find that sitting in a circle makes it much eaiser.
Where you meet and when you meet matters much less than what happens when you meet.
Put Jesus in the center, gather around Him and use your gifts to build one another up in love.
That’s called the Body of Christ.