A Church Without Walls

February 15, 2019

Matthew 4:18-20 – As [Jesus] walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea — for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people." Immediately they left their nets and followed him. (NRSV)

In 2001, the Church of Scotland looked around and decided that something was terribly wrong with the church in Scotland. It wasn't just numerical decline. There was something wrong about how people — both inside and outside — perceived the church. Things needed to change, and the result was "A Church Without Walls": a report, a program, a movement with the goal of providing a "big vision" for the church, relevant to every part of the church and a guide for many years to come.

Central to the report was the re-discovery of Jesus' call to "Follow Me". The committee reporting said that instead of reading the scores of pages of their report, the committee was tempted simply to offer two words: "Follow Me". That call takes us back to be people with Jesus at the centre, travelling wherever Jesus takes us, affirming that "our core calling is to invite, encourage, and enable people to be disciples of Jesus Christ."

The bottom line has always been "Follow Me". In this day and age, we need to continually ask what it means to follow Jesus Christ. The only answer that I can give is to get back to the blueprint that the early apostles followed:

Acts 2:42 – They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (NASB)

Those are the four vital elements that make up the actual function and life of the church — and all of that in just one verse!

What happens when we follow a blueprint based on study, community, communion, and prayer? Acts 2:43 goes on to say, "Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe." Awe — a sense of reverence. It is reserved for special times when people are struck with wonder because of something divine or powerful that defies human explanation.

Are we ready to be part of a church without walls?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, call us today to follow You, and surprise us as we find ourselves in places that we'd never expect to be, with others we might never have known unless You had called them, too. Help us to be as devoted as Your early church, as we seek our own fourfold blueprint consisting of teaching, community, communion, and prayer in our own lives and in the life of the church. Amen.

About the author:

Kenn Stright <kennethstright@yahoo.ca>
West Petpeswick, Nova Scotia, Canada

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