Yesterday I started a series of message called Journey for the Vision. If you are curious about Journey Church, or where we believe God is taking us in the future, this would be a great time to join us. If you have any questions, let me know.
During the message, I shared some definitions that will be useful as we move through this series. I wanted to take a moment and share those again here.
Church - This is something we think we all understand. When I say church nearly ever person is going to get some image in their mind. For the sake of this series, I want to make sure that we have the same understanding. Truth is the word “church” is quite complicated and truly does mean different things in different contexts.
Big “C” Church: Obviously, a capital C on the front of church doesn’t always have a different meaning. Sometimes it’s because it’s part of the name of a local church, such as Journey Church of Haines City. However, when I refer to the “Big C Church”, this refers to all Christians around the world.
Small “c” church: Small “c” church refers to a local, organized, group of Christians. This can take a great many forms. From large churches meeting in big, expensive buildings; to a group meeting in someone’s home; to a group meeting in a local dance studio.
The people: Both the big “C” church, and the little “c” church are actually made up of the people. In the big “C” church, it’s all the Christians everywhere. In the small “c” church, it refers to the people that are part of a local, organized group of Christians.
Individual: When talking about the church being the people, this can be broken down into two additional distinctions. The first is the individual. There are some expressions of church that the individual carries out themselves.
Corporate: In this case, the term “corporate” is not referring to a business. Rather it refers to things that are organized, planned, often paid for, and carried out by the church as a group.
More information: To further explain the difference between Individual and Corporate expressions when referring to the local church consider this. When we gather on Sunday morning, that is corporate worship because it is organized, planned, and carried out by the church as a group. At the same time, each individual member of a local church can worship throughout the week. That would be an individual expression of worship. This concept carries over to any activity that the church or its members might take part in such as: prayer, outreach, service projects, and more.
Organization: As Moses lead the Israelites there was organization. Moses set up a hierarchy of leadership in order to efficiently lead the people. There was a process for brining offerings, and how they should be managed.
As move to Jesus’ ministry we know that one of His disciples was charged with managing the money box. This means that people were donating money to Jesus’ ministry and there was a process for ensuring that this money was used to pay for certain expenses that the ministry had.
In today’s society there is also an organizational or business side to the word “church”. While many take issue with this, you can see that there is Biblical precedent for it. It’s also simply a matter of fact in our society. There are bills to be paid, we need bank accounts to both manage the money donated and to provide a level of accountability to the people that manage it. While this aspect of the word “church” will seldom come up in a message on Sunday morning, it is a very real part of what it means to be a church.
Vision: This term is often used to describe one’ ability to see. However, in this case, it refers to a look into the future to see what that future might be like.
It’s kinda like planning a vacation. When you first start you might consider going to the beach, or to a cabin in the mountains. In either case, you form a VISION for what a vacation at that location might be like. You get an idea of what the location might look like. You consider the sort of activities that might be part of that vacation. You might even think of some of the local attractions you might visit.
If your anything like me, then the vision for the vacation in the mountains includes me sitting on the porch, early in the morning, while everyone else is still asleep, drinking a cup of coffee and reading a book. And the vision for the vacation on the beach includes me sitting on the balcony, early in the morning, while everyone else is still asleep, drinking a cup of coffee, and reading a book.
In the case of this series, the word vision refers to where I believe God wants our church to go in the future. It refers to the kinds of things that I think He wants us to do.
Note: The Bible gives some instruction for what it means to be a church (small “c”). It takes more than simply gathering with a few other people who call themselves Christians to be a church, according to the Bible. For the sake of this series, when I refer to the small “c” church, I am assuming that it is a local, organized group of Christians that are also fulfilling the things that the Bible says makes them a church.