Church Scattered Looks Different From Church Gathered
But it is still the Church
I’m starting to wonder about the church gathered and the church scattered. When gathered, the church is governed by the authoritative voices elected/appointed that would seem to speak to/for the entire body. Pastors, associate pastors, sub pastors. Women pastors purposefully not called pastors (in the great Evangelical tradition of shell game authority).
But the church scattered…what of that? Are the pastors/elders still in control? Not hardly—the church has reconvened out in their work places where the docile congregation morphs to serfs, middle-managers and captains of industry. With varying levels of ability, authority, autonomy and knowledge. The church is dispersed like clockwork every Monday and there is no stopping that. What is the goal of the church when not gathered? The same: to display the manifold wisdom of God, as the Apostle Paul said. And perhaps the social chirps from the pocket (the Tweets received, the prayers sent by text, the blogged thoughts and updated Facebook statuses that indicated relationship) enhance the scattered church’s connections and saltiness out in the world.
The mission when gathered is to whoop it up over the God of the universe and the truth about Him letting us know Him. And to help each other grow in knowing God. The mission when scattered? Like oil in gears, or salt on food, or light scattering cockroaches on a dark floor: individuals act out the presence of God in direct contact with the corrupted and corrupting stuff of everyday life (which is to say, the human condition).
The church industry spends a lot of time working on and directing the gathered piece. But the scattered piece gets less attention, though there is a kind of osmosis assumed to be at work, where the context of church gathered gets translated to church scattered. But it’s always been up to individuals to sort that translation out.
What do you think? How is the church scattered different from the church gathered?