What is it that makes us Christian? I probably could ask, what is it that makes us the Church? To some extent they could be the same question, but I want to hear from you as we set ourselves to prayer.
As a pastor it is sometimes very easy or convenient to fall into the mindset that doing Church is our objective and we forget that our objective is really being the Church. As followers of Jesus Christ we are the "Church" and we being built together into the household of God where He will come and live by His Spirit and grow us up into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Being the Church is about praying for one another, encouraging one another, loving one another, and so on. When we do Church we are contoled by the schedule - Sunday worship, weekly bible study group and weekly prayer meeting and sometimes adding the weekly small group just becomes another cog in doing Church. "Doing" Church is about "doing" things for God; "being" Church is "being in Christ" and letting Him work through us. The doing Church seems to focus on information and the being Church is always seeking transformation. We need to ask ourselves the question - is this prayer meeting about information (getting all the prayer requests) or is it about transformation (through an encounter with Jesus as we join Him as He is already praying) ? Is Bible study just about information (facts) or is it about transformation ('til Christ be formed within me) ? Is the small group meeting about information (gossip or just getting to know the participants) or is it about transformation (as we share grace and mercy and yield to the work of the spirit) ? Recently the leadership in the Church where I pastor were given guidance in prayer to scrap all our programs and methods and just allow Him to unfold things. What has sprung from that is a transformation from a typical Presbyterian Church to a permission giving Church. What has unfolded is a cross Church one on one mentoring program.