This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
But even before COS dealt with the issue of calling, they asked a very simple, profound, question – "What is church?" The scary thing is that I've been asking this same question for more than a year now. Gordon Cosby posed the question another way to us during our meeting, "What did Jesus intend his church to look like?" Or, "What is the essence of the church?" Now the intent of this question is not to recapture what the church in the Book of Acts looked like or something. No church can copy another's methods or structure and expect the same results. No, the question is – what did Jesus envision his church to look like? What is important to him? After all, he is the head of the church. He thought up the idea of gathering a group of disciples for mutual support in 'the Way'. So what was he really after? As with calling, I think it's important to realize that we can never fully rest in one definition of what church is. The question has many different answers for many varied places and times. As a matter of fact, Cosby offered this word of advice to us young church planters. "Your job is to keep asking that question as long as you live." Because – and this is critical – "We grow by asking the right questions not by getting answers."… I'm not talking just about ministry to the poor or learning how do church in a changing culture. I'm talking about the total redefinition of what 'church' really is. About re-asking the question, "What is church?"
Interesting article. I think a lot of us mistake one model of church with the true essence of a church. They hear talk of leaving churches and they read questions that make them uncomfortable, but they don't realize that we're not questioning the church as much as we are a model of doing church, one that really isn't working too well. The less we focus on models, the more we'll be able to ask the question: what kind of life did Jesus envision us to live together?