Church as a Connection Point
When thinking about the nature of the church, should we think of it as a destination or a connection point? Stated a little clearer: Is the church a resort or an airport? A resort is a destination or a place you go to relax, be refreshed, and be waited on. An airport is a place of connection or somewhere you are while waiting to GO. Reggie McNeal asked this question in his helpful book Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church. Jason Dukes in his book Live Sent: You Are A Letter, likens the church to a Post Office, sending out letters written by God into the world. And of course an unsent letter is no good to anyone.
As I think about the New Testament church and the images of going and sending found there, I have to suggest that the church is not the destination for the believer. It’s a connection point to life in Christ, to the mission of Christ in the world, and to a life given away for the sake of others inside and outside the fellowship of believers.
Semantics? OK. But the implication for leaders and disciplers who devise strategy and plan ministry can be huge. Do you have a plan to send and release people into the community regularly and consistently? Do you reward people for their work done in Jesus’ name off campus or in unsponsored church activities? Is your discipling process producing Christians who are looking outward, engaging the unchurched, and actively giving themselves away as a way of life? The answer to these questions may suggest a mindset that makes the church either a connection point or the destination.
Jason Dukes says in Live Sent, “church culture has made discipleship about retention more than release.” While we must plan for assimilation and discipleship and life in the body, lets remember that God’s destination for His church is out there – see Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.