Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The church is not the destination

I've watched Reggie McNeal give his talk "It's AD 30 All Over Again" twice now. He is speaking to the Reformed Church in America at their One Thing conference. There is a website HERE.

Overall, he's kinda saying that the church is not the point. The kingdom is. And we need to quit looking at the kingdom through church lenses, but start looking at the church through kingdom lenses.

He also talked about our job as being to bless people. That's the covenant; that's the role we were given in Genesis 12. "Don't have an evangelism strategy - have a blessing strategy."

McNeal says that Christianity is, in fact, still the fastest growing religion in the world, with tens of thousands coming to faith every day. But it's not in the USA. China is where there are more people coming to Jesus in any 24 hour period than in any other country. But he jokes that they don't know what they're doing, because it's happening in "house churches." :)

He also said that 80% of Christians in the world are now non-white, non-western hemisphere.

One thing that I really wanted to remember was at about 23:20 into the talk. He referred to church being a connecting point rather than the destination. This is roughly what he said:
When an airport confuses itself as the destination it thinks it's winning when all the planes are on the ground close to the hub, and the concourse is throbbing with people. But every time it does that, it screws up peoples lives. They're frantic, desperate to try to get out of there. When the church thinks it is the destination it screws up the scorecard...

The airport is a connector to get you somewhere you want to go. You never wake up wanting to go to an airport; but you're glad to go THROUGH an airport to get to where you want to go...

The church is not the destination, but it is a connector... to get people where they really want to go - which is 'life'. That's what Jesus came to give us. He didn't say he came to give us 'church'... but LIFE. The destination is the kingdom, because that's where life is; that's where the king is.

Good stuff. It's not that the church is bad, or wrong, or unnecessary. It's just not the point. I really liked listening to Reggie. I had never heard anything by him. I liked his book The Present Future, and I like his speaking style too. I wish he had a blog (maybe he does, I dunno).