It was last week when I read Andrew's post " 9 reasons NOT to plant a church in 2012 " and It got the old levers, pulleys and gears slowly moving in my head. Really reading Andrew's observations using our old measuring sticks we would be hard pressed to call these churches. They are something much more organic, local, diverse...and sustainable. I don't know but it kind of sounds like gardening, And suddenly I hear a tapping sound on the side door of my mind, it's Jesus...remember, " I talked about soil, planting seeds...and growing the Kingdom."
I think a sad reality is christianity has been more consumed with planting churches...rather than planting the Kingdom.
I have never been much of a gardener. I'm like the angel of death when it comes to plant care. Look around the house and you'll see my favourite plant, my cherished Bonsai Tree...is really made out of plastic. Because I feel such guilt, and remorse for what I've done to the plant Kingdom...I've made a promise not to buy anymore. But genetically I come from a lineage of good gardeners...my great grandmother, grandmother and mother were prolific gardeners. They could grow vegetables on asphalt.
How did they do it? Compost. All the stuff that we would normally throw out...waste, scraps, garbage. No matter how bad it looked, and smelled it went into making the soil.
Maybe this will be the reality of future faith communities...not churches. They will be small groups of people passionate about gardening and the Kingdom. They will make the soil in which to plant the Kingdom. Like my grandmother, it will be all the throw away stuff, scraps, bits and pieces, waste, garbage. But this will be the throw away stuff of broken lives, addicts, prostitutes, alcoholics, the poor, the homeless, the illiterate, the oppressed, the single mom, the marginalized. It will be all the stuff the world considers waste...but this is the humus in which Jesus grows something profoundly beautiful...his Kingdom.
This will be there work...maybe there won't be Sunday morning worship. Maybe it will singing while working. Much like the slaves in the southern US while working the fields they sang songs, maybe not worship songs, but they were gospel songs...songs of freedom, and protest.
Maybe communion will once again revolve around the dinner table. Maybe it will be potluck...everyone contributing to the meal. Maybe the sermon will be a distant memory...maybe in the future faith it will dinner conversation. Some sacred text tossed out in the midst of the meal. It might be the Bible, then again it might not...maybe the Koran, Rumi, Bhagavad Gita. It won't be so much finding an answer as it will be to wrestle with it...to engage everyone in the conversation. Maybe in the end it will be a question for another meal to draw us deeper into the mystery of the Kingdom.
Maybe evangelism won't be a conversion transaction like at an ATM...but by drawing people in to the life of this organic spiritual gardening community. Rather than forcing beliefs on people we can gently and humbly draw them in where they see Jesus in the midst of life...as we humbly nurture and cultivate the soil of broken humanity.
I my mind I see future faith being a lot more Kingdom...and a lot less Church.