In studying the topic of partnership and working together I found myself writing different phrases that mean the same thing:
Churches that partner together.
Churches that work together.
Churches who work alone.
To simplify my writing and note taking I am creating new words: multichurch, monochurch, and cochurch.
These aren’t the only ones I am sure to create in my lifetime. I don’t expect much publicity, or recognition pertaining to these words. Most people don’t remember who coined what word. Who coined the word megachurch?
If there is a megachurch, is there such a thing as a microchurch? Or are there only churches and megachurches? Anyways…
Let me define these terms and how I am going to use them.
Multichurch: an association of churches in an area partnered towards a goal or set of goals. This is different than a denomination in that several traditions will be in the same multichurch. Also, I did not want to use the word “ecumenical” because it tends toward a larger body, a global body. My focus will be more localized within a city, town, or area. I will also make use of “multichurch culture” to describe the paradigm I am promoting: a culture where local churches work together for evangelism and outreach.
Monochurch – a church that does not work with other churches, and may even work against other churches. These churches are sceptical of other traditions. Some may even see these churches as heretical. Monochurch culture refers the current culture within the Church today.
Cochurch – an individual church that exists within a multichurch (much like the word coworker). The church is partnered with another church or group of churches. I may not use this word as much as the others.
Tell me what you think? Do you think these words are adequate? Do you think they’ll catch on?
Acts tells the story of the beginning of the Church. The first church grew from 120 people to over 3000 in one day. Reading Acts 2:42-47 we see a mega-church united in body and spirit.
Many read these passages and ask the question, “Why does the Church today look so different than the Church of Acts?” In Acts, they had “all things in common” and no one had need. Looking at the Church today, we are all divided, and we are all in need. The devil has done well to divide and conquer us.
How do we recover from our divisiveness, come together and help each other? I believe the answer lies within these passages in Acts.
Now, these items are not bad or unbiblical. Buildings and pastors are needed. One point I am making here is this: head pastors and buildings don’t make a church. What makes a church are believers that are devoted to the teachings of Jesus Christ, to fellowship, communion, and prayer.
How the First Church functioned was this: meeting in homes to fellowship and being discipled by the Apostles and the other 108 souls that were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were one church, with one message, meeting in multiple buildings. If each house could hold 120 people, that would mean 25 house-churches was required for the First Church.
Incidentally, there are about 25 churches in my home city. Could we be one church, meeting in multiple locations, having the one message of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Can we have all things in common and have no one church, or one family, in need?
Unity. What every church preaches, and yet, never practices. Sure, each church loves to come together and fellowship within their own buildings, their own congregations, their own traditions. But, hardly ever do they work with other churches or other traditions in the community. If it wasn’t for Good Friday community services I don’t think churches would come together at all.
This has been a burden of mine for a long time. Since I was young I wanted to see churches working together to see our communities changed for Christ. Then, I believed that God called me to bring unity in our community. Big hopes I know. Today, I think God is pulling me in that direction once again.
Why should we not come together to see the kingdom of God work in our communities?
So, a few weeks ago I invited several local pastors I know to come together in one room to discuss how we can work together to see our community evangelized in 2018.
Last Thursday, from two churches, and one local discipleship ministry came five leaders showed up. We discussed the population stats versus the number of churches. We discussed if these churches were effective and why. We discussed our hearts for ministry and the desire to see God’s kingdom advance in our county.
Much was discussed, but so much more needs to be said and done.
As we move through this endeavor I will be writing here about our meetings, our discoveries, and our actions. I also will be writing about why, how, and the need for local churches to partner together for the kingdom of God.
After all, we are one church trying to reach one harvest.