I suggest that the church has a biblical dna that must govern the way we conceptualize, structure, orient, worship, and serve the world. Genesis 12:1-3 gives us a classic description of this dna which, I would claim, underwrites any form the people of God take in the Bible. Whether they be a fugitive group of escapees from Egypt, a nation formed on Mt. Sinai, nomads wandering in the desert for 40 years, a united monarchy, divided monarchies, exiles in Babylon, or exiles in their own land, the threefold promise of
-being God’s people,
-being blessed and protected by God, and
-used by God to bless everyone else,
should mark, indeed, be the rationale, for their existence.
I assume, then, that such a dna ought to guide of reflections on the shape of the church in our time. Assuming nothing about what a church must look like, questions like these should guide our considerations:
-what does it mean to be a “people” in our individualized and increasingly individualizing culture? What of structures do need to a people in this environment? What does such a “people” need from “leadership” in that setting?
-how does being “blessed and protected” by God affect our lifestyles in an endlessly consumeristic culture? Can we sit looser to what we determine we need as a church, or can we give to our world and trust God with our own existence?
-how might being “blessing” the world, understood in the Old Testament sense bring life and earthly well-being, impact the shape of our presence in the world? Might being “with” them rather than requiring them to come to us be a better way? Or perhaps doing away with the “us-them” category altogether?