One Too Many?

I had lunch with a friend recently and his question was, “So what do you think when people say that Dallas already has too many churches?” Great question… this is my response:

When Jesus died, the veil was torn in the Temple and the Holy Spirit then left. At that moment you no longer had to go to the Temple to meet with God. You had to believe in Jesus. The Holy Spirit then descended on the disciples at Petecost in the upper room. He, the Holy Spirit, was the catalyst they were commanded to wait for until they were to… MOVE.

And check this… move with clear command and order. In Jerusalem first, then Samaria and Judea and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” You start at home, your city, then you move out. Like rings on a tree.

Now, all who believe in Jesus and profess Him as Lord and Savior of their lives receive the Holy Spirit as did the disciples. Your body becomes the Temple. Your physical body. The Biblical new covenant ‘church’ is just a group believers. Together, 2 or more, become built into a living temple. Rather than people going to the Temple to meet God, He sends us out as His Temple.

1 Corinthians 3:16

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”

What we call a ‘church’ in American culture is a congregation or assembly of believers which possess the Holy Spirit. But notice, this congregation is only done to organize a formal MOVEMENT. Single lights in the community come together to a centralized location to form one big light. Then cells or groups of lights go back out into the darkness of their community. All too common our congregations meet and never move. Our stagnation is clearly seen in the proliferation of large congregations… and a dead city. Literally… a dead downtown Dallas.

There are never enough churches, because people are the Church. And there are never too many people in the Kingdom of God. This point of view, that there are too many churches, is based on poor theology and reveals our consumer minded view of Christianity. It is just how we have been conditioned. But church is not someplace you go, it is something you are. And it exists for the movement of believers and the movement of the Gospel.

The strongest congregation of believers in the city would be one with no formal building. Low overhead would mean more money into ministry, missions, and the community. It would be grass roots in nature. It would be a decentralized church with central leadership. You would hear about it but never really see all of it. But when it came together to meet…. you would have to use Cowboys Stadium.

– What if the church used its money to build all the community centers and libraries in the city… then we just met in them?

– What if we organized by city, community, and suburb then came together in a large city wide meeting in downtown to discuss our efforts?

– What if we were so integral in our community, rather than fighting with it, that we win souls based on our love for one another and our impact in the community? The power of the gospel worked out in our lives.

We have come a long way, but we have a long way to go.

One too many?

I think we are just getting started.

Concept Church is really just an organized movement of believers into the city with the life giving force of Jesus Christ and the power of His Good News. They may be apart of multiple ‘churches’ but they are all one Church. Because in Jesus Christ alone, we are all one.

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