Long after a person has graduated from school and entered into their adult life, they will occasionally have the opportunity to come back to an elementary school setting.
It’s odd. It’s easy to feel like a giant. The tables and chairs are so small. The drinking fountains are lowered. There are reminders of the alphabet, numbers and the elementary building blocks of life.
It’s a setting that is perfect for my kids who are learning these basic elements of citizenship.
But it would be tragic if they wanted to remain there. If instead of venturing into the world they chose to retell the same stories, and relearn the same lessons, despite their knees no longer fitting under the table.
The contemporary church system is like this. It is a beautiful thing. It is a gathering place to educate, inspire, and equip a person in their faith so that they can actually go into the world and redeem it.
But the system is broke. It never graduates any students. It sees Church Alumni as bad. It retells the same stories. Like a picker with one string on the banjo it convinces people there is only one way to relate to God and this world, and then they scare people into ever venturing out. (because they know when you go, so do your dollars)
Hebrews 5:11-6:3 is a clear scolding that this practice shouldn’t be the case, stating that “…by now you should be teachers, but you need someone to teach you the basic principles…” and then the author adds: “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrines of Christ and go on to maturity…”
You see, elementary school is great to give us a foundation to live in the world, in the same way the cultural church system is to prepare a person to actually enter and become a part of the real Church. It is to open our eyes to the great cloud of witnesses meaning that we are a part of something way bigger than the Sunday morning show.
Even today, people who know I’ve stopped “going to church” in an effort to “be the Church in the world” still wonder if I am ever coming back. Behind this question is the assumption that somehow I am missing something because I am not sitting in tiny congregation going through the same routine week after week: (coffee, donuts, music, offering, preaching, more music, go out to lunch). Like shampooing its: wash, rinse, repeat.
Why would I go back? It’s not about pride its about the experience of where God has brought me. Once a person has entered the world and learned how all the elementary instruction has created a platform to help others and enjoy life, why would they go back to the alphabet again? In like manner, once you have grasped all the different theories about how Christianity works, at some point you have to go out and actually live as a unique Christian for the sake of the world. Based on the fact that Christianity is negatively perceived, I’d have to give the present system an “F.”
Is it any wonder the world looks at this system and says these are people who need a crutch? What kind of person stays in elementary school who doesn’t teach there?
You see, I’m not opposed to the church system. It is good at what it does (those that actually do it). It builds people up in the faith. But I am against the notion that a person has to collapse their life and resources into that system. Support it while you are in it. But then grow up and get on with it.
The world needs people to graduate and join the REAL Church. We need to sit at the big people table.
To the masses that are making this move, I solute you. To those who are fed up with the politics, the repetition, the fear mongering, and the control tactics, may I suggest you are likely root bound in your formative pot. It’s time you come out and live freely and go to work.
I’m here to help anyone who desires to be repotted into the big pot. Let me show you just how big this cloud of witnesses really is, and once you see it, I promise you’ll never fit in the classroom again.