Christianity has been buried inside the walls of churches and secured with the shackles of dogmatism. Let it be liberated to come into the midst of us and teach us freedom, equality and love. – Minna Canth
Let me tell you about a vision I had some years back. I call it the vision of the two brides. For those who don’t know, Christ referred to the Church as his bride. The first bride was beautiful, dressed in a white wedding dress and made up to perfection. The impression was that she had done her own make-up and had dressed herself. You could say that she was a self-made bride. The second bride came crawling into view on hands and knees. She looked like she had been beaten as she was covered in bruises and scares; clothes torn and dirty. All at once something came into her and she became raised up off her feet as though some force where picking her up. She began to be transformed from the inside out and a bright white light shone out from her and clothed her in a brilliant beauty from head to toe. She far out shone the first bride, paling in comparison to her. I then saw Christ approaching, coming to collect his bride. As he approached, he was immediately drawn to the second bride. I did not see him rejecting the first bride, but he was definitely more attracted to the second.
What would you find more attractive, a church that is attractive because it has a beautiful building, kickin worship music, great preaching, a fantastic children’s program, and professional, strategic systems of operation; or one that is being lead by a drug addict in his home and has had his life so transformed that he just shines with the love of Christ, so much so that you can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the presence of God in that place. The best soil for planting is soil that has been broken up; otherwise the seeds just sit on the hard ground and don’t take root. The best soil for churches is soil that has been broken also. That is why God showed me the image of a broken bride. We have become very consumerist in our approach to church. We go where we are offered the best features rather than where lives are being transformed on a regular basis.
I look at church as being a very integral part of the community. I see it as a place where people are not put off by all the religious trappings. A place where you can share your deepest, darkest stuff and others will love on you with a genuine intimacy. I now am also looking at it as something that is simple and easily reproducible, so that new churches can be started by just about anyone in any place in the community; coffee shops, parking lots, car, home, office. You don’t have to be ordained to start a church. If you are a follower of Christ, you are a Priest! 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.