Structure for the Believers, or Believers for the Structure?Today I've been thinking more over the whole "church" issue, and in particular the question "what is the definition of a "'local church?'". What is the difference between a "local church" and a casual gathering of people who love Jesus, seek to worship and know Him more together, and spread the gospel to those around them? At what point does this become an "official" local church? Aren't they one and the same?
I guess I'm just throwing this all out there. Obviously as any small gathering as I've just described (which, yes, I would call a church) gets bigger, more "organization" is necessary. The Bible lays out what this structure is supposed to look like, and how each believer involved is called to contribute their gifts for the benefit of it. No one is greater or less; each person is on the same plane with God, using their gifts for the church. Beautiful. This "structure" is God-ordained, and for the benefit of the believers, to equip them to glorify Him.
I guess the heart of my question is this: could one of the problems with many churches today be the unspoken mindset that the believers are here for the "structure", not the "structure" for the benefit of the believers? Is the structure too much of the focus? Is the tail wagging the dog?
Could that be the reason for the disillusionment with church that Barna describes in "Revolution"
Does that make ANY sense? Sorry for any lack of clarity; it's late. :)
Would love to hear thoughts on this.