Eight years ago (May 1998) I had the wonderful privilege of studying at the Nazarene Theological Seminary (www.nts.edu) in Kansas City for a short summer session. The professor for this class was then-Pastor of Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene (CA) Dr Stephen A Green. The course was entitled "Pastoral Implications of the Gospel Narratives." It was a marvelous class.
Pastor Green said so many "profound" things during that week, but something has stuck in my mind ever since. Actually several things have "stuck" in my mind, but this one in particular:
"Is your local church a collection of individuals, or a community of saints?"
Now some eight years later, that question is still as valid as when it was originally asked.
I've been marvelously blest to worship in some of the "finest" and "largest" congregations here in the United States, as well as some of the largest in the world. It is a blessing and privilege that I've not taken lightly. But looking back, I do have some questions about the "church" as we know it today.
First, "What does it mean to a congregation to be a 'community of believers' in their locale?"
Second, "Which is more important to those 'leading' the congregation: To be a leader, or to be a shepherd?"
Third, "How do we help people get involved in the lives of their fellow believers in the congregation?"
Finally, "What are the trademarks of your local church?"
So what say ye?