So, how would I define “the building”? What is it exactly that Jesus is supposedly walking away from? Well, you might be dealing with an Institutional understanding if you maintain or accept the following ideas about “church:”
- It’s somewhere you go
- It happens on a special day of the week
- You have a professional to tell you what to do
- All it requires of you is attendance and fees paid
- There exists a hierarchical command structure
- Meetings come before people
- It has committees
- It has programs
- It has a corporate vision
- It has a corporate name
- It segregates itself from other believers
- It is more concerned with structure than content
- Quality is sacrificed for quantity
I risk being quite easily misunderstood. You may think that I am against structure. This is not what I’m trying to communicate. Structure is a characteristic of life itself. To remove structure is to bypass productivity altogether. Our bodies wouldn’t be able to do anything if it were not for the delicate balance of our skeletal and muscular systems. We would literally be a blob on the floor, not capable of activity necessary in keeping us alive. However, are the structures we customarily call “church” appropriately designated? Church as we know it today looks extremely different from what it was in the beginning. But things are changing.
Structure will change only because that which needs to be contained is something brand new. Whenever you have new wine, as Jesus put it, you must put it into a new wineskin. Christianity, as we know it, is morphing and its appearance will be a reality that most of us haven’t seen in a long time, perhaps two thousand years.