14. What is the 'local church'?


One night I was searching through the scriptures a question came to me....
.....'Well what is it that you believe the church should be like?'....
The following dream burns in my heart about what the local church should be...(with apologies to Martin Luther King and his dream for the world) 
I have a dream ....of a church no longer divided into those who are called to lead...and the rest who placidly follow...but one where all christians work together as part of His living body to reach this world
I have a dream ...of a church no longer divided into those who are paid to be christian ministers.....and those who are told that God requires that they give money to them ...but where the body all serves each other out of love...and money is nothing more than a tool to do it with
I have a dream ...of a church where the body is no longer divided into those who are called and anointed.....and others are relegated to the passivity of pew-warming.....but where we all live out our God ordained work and ministry
I have a dream ....of a church where God is the only one who gets the glory....and the only 'great' people are those who without titles give their lives to serve others
I have a dream ....where the church is no longer thought of as a building where people meet...but a group of people with a message that turns this world upside-down
I have a dream ...where when people come to our fellowship meetings they are never asked for money....but come out saying 'I have a spare house ..or piece of land that I want to give' 
I have a dream ...of a church that can be 'trusted with that which belongs to another'.....and is entrusted with true spiritual riches we all long for
I have a dream ...of a church which worships without 'worship leaders'.....where the Spirit of God himself leads and we are all swept up in trances to the throne room
I have a dream...where truth and truth alone is the standard for all doctrine....and all the traditions of men are dismantled
I have a dream ...where all God's sheep hear his voice.....and no longer does a man teach his brother saying 'know the Lord'....for they shall all know Him personally
I have a dream ...of a church which no longer 'worships' God for 1-2 hours a week on sunday....but encounters him every day....and is led by the Spirit to perform powerful works in their lives out in the 'real world'
I have a dream ...of a church which is no longer powerless....where even children lay hands on the sick and they are healed
I will dream until I see the dream fulfilled...or until I go home to my Father still dreaming .....
What do you believe the church is?
The bible never mentions the words 'local church'.....it does not speak of 'membership of a church'...(we are only members of Christ's body ...universal).
The bible knows nothing of a 'single pastor' led church without the effective oversight of multiple equal elders (except that where 'Diotophes loved to be first' .... doing what is evil)
The bible speaks of THE church at Ephesus...etc. It is one church universal which meets at different locations. It is NOT divided and Christ alone is the head.
What do you believe?
Is the church a place which a man leads and where he has authority over other believers OR is Christ alone the head?
Is a church a place where people can join by becoming members and agreeing to abide by a set of rules OR is it the Father who chooses to reveal Jesus to them and thereby welcomes them into His family?
Is the church a place where we pay others to do the 'work of God' for us OR is this something we are each called to do?
Is a church a place where we gather to get away from the world and meet with God OR do we live with Him 24/7?
Is worship the singing of songs we participate in OR a life lived in relationship with God?
Is the church a place where believers attend a 'christian service' and perhaps invite others to come and see how nice it is OR a community where believers are trained and charged up to go out and reach the world?
Is the 'pastor' the man who will look after your spiritual needs OR do you have a relationship with God yourself where you are led by the Spirit?
Do you need to have other people around to support you OR is God's hand on your life, and His word in your ear your source of comfort and sustenance?
Do you need prophetic words from others OR are you hearing God yourself?
Do you need a 'preacher' to preach the gospel to you again OR have you 'got it' already?
Do you need more teaching OR is perhaps a little 'doing' what is needed?
Are new believers being 'added to the Lord' OR to your church?
When you look at your church....
Are members leaving by the back door of the church as fast or faster than they are coming in through the front door?.....Do you know why they are leaving?.....Do you even want to know?
Is your church growing because you are reaching the world for Christ or are you 'stealing sheep' from other fellowships because you have better entertainment?
What proportion of the money your church raises is being given to the poor and to itinerant missionaries OR is it all being consumed on facilities and salaries?
Now ask yourself why we so often hear the following statement when people are looking for a church where they feel that it is the biblical church Jesus himself is building...
"If you ever find the perfect church do not join it because after you join it will no longer be perfect"
Is this anymore than an excuse for leaders to justify refusing to walk in TRUTH?
Is this not an attempt to deceive children of God into viewing the church as something that MAN leads rather than Christ himself being the HEAD?
Is this not an attempt to GUILT MANIPULATE God's children, for whom Christ died to PERFECT and MAKE HOLY, to accept compromises which the SPIRIT of Truth in their hearts is telling them to reject?
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