Emphasising the Church-Scattered for the Sake of Monday to Saturday!

From my viewpoint (which may be skew I know) it seems that God is bringing the church back, through events like the Lausanne Conference, to two profound truths about (1) the Whole Gospel and (2) the Whole Church.

The first truth, in the words of Chris J. H. Wright, is that “the whole Bible needs to be used by the whole church to take the whole Gospel to the whole world” and in so doing, reflect the priorities and passions of God: for the lost (spiritually) as well as the last and the least (socially, culturally and economically); for those dying in their sins as well as those dying of hunger, disease and war; and for the landless, homeless, family-less and stateless as well as those who are without Christ, without God and without hope in the world.

The second truth concerns the “whole church”, that it is the priesthood of ALL believers engaged with the priorities and passions of God, not just an ordained class of believer or a select few. The church is GATHERED together on Sundays at services where a few ordained or recognised lay people fulfil a variety of functions and fill a limited number of roles. But the church is SCATTERED from Monday to Saturday in homes, schools and the workplace, involving all manner of believers in an unlimited number of roles.

These two truths are proportionally linked. Taking the whole gospel to the whole world requires the whole church to BE the priesthood of all believers in both the gathered and, more importantly, the scattered forms of church. While Sunday gatherings are the more typical, visible, tangible demonstration of the church existing in the world, greater emphasis needs to be placed on equipping, encouraging and empowering the scattered church to live and work out faith in situ in order to usher in the kingdom of God Monday to Saturday!

The church-gathered is limited in its impact by, for example, building size and budget size (and so the temptation is always to go bigger and better). The church-scattered has a much broader impact and is already tied into the systems, structures and social bodies that need the light of Christ in their midst.

The church-scattered emphasis takes us away from a predominant Sunday-centric model.  Whether urban or rural, rich or poor, mega or minuscule, the church-scattered has the force to transcend the usual obstacles to taking the gospel into the world.