May 29, 2008

Dr. Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., speaks on the relevancy of the “traditional” church.


City Church: Meeting

May 28, 2008

Note: This is the second post of a “chain blog” concerning the topic of “city church.”

Upon noting that the New Testament churches were partly defined by the city where they were located, Alan Knox started this chain blog regarding the biblical concept of the “city church” and posted the following questions:

“Is it valid for us to discount the “city church” in the New Testament and assume that it has no validity for us today? If the concept of a “city church” is valid today, then what would that look like? I’ve listed several categories below. What does the idea of “city church” look like in each category?”

The categories that he lists are the following:

Meeting, Leadership, Activities, Cooperation, Structure

You can read the original post here

This is a complicated, but challenging, subject. In the New Testament, there seemed to be one church per city. As was the custom, Paul and others would visit a region or city that had never heard the Gospel and would plant a church there. There was no need for multiple congregations because the church had not grown to the point where a split would have happened (at least to my knowledge). This practice would be very similar to a situation where if I moved to Region X – a place that had never previously heard the Gospel – and preached the Gospel, some would become converted and a church would be born. However, “Christendom” has been around for close to 2,000 years now and there are many denominations, as well as heretical movements, that exist. One fundamental question throughout this entire chain blog series will undoubtedly be, “Is it possible for a city church to exist in a region where Christ has already been preached and the Gospel has already been established?” That is the question that I will seek to answer generally. Specifically, I will seek to comment on how that would work out in terms of its gathering together.

The Assembling (Meeting) of the City Church

1) Would a “city church” meet together?

In an area where the Gospel has been established, perhaps the first step to making a “city church” work would be the coming together of like-minded congregations. These congregations would have to agree to certain doctrinal beliefs. I would say that an “orthodox” view of Christianity and the Bible would be the overarching belief for a city church to work. Another key factor for a city church to work would be for these like-minded, Bible-believing congregations to hold an initial joint meeting to perhaps establish or even cast what their vision is for them and the city itself.

What would be the purpose of such a meeting?

The purpose of the meeting at this point would be to clarify if they were either (a) going to merge into one local church or (b) be some form of association of independent congregations that met together regularly. Obviously, the ramifications as to which route the members chose would steer this ship to two very different paths.

Who would organize the meeting?

This questions assumes that certain congregations have already been batting this idea around. I would think that the leadership of each congregation (however they defined that term) would meet and discuss the purpose of the initial meeting.

What activities should be part of a “city church” meeting?

I see two possible scenarios of an initial meeting.

a. A meeting to discuss what the city church will be – This would be a joint meeting with members of all of the congregations coming together and in proper business meeting format giving input as to what the goal of the church would be. Obviously, the ground rules for this type of meeting will have to be laid so that the meeting would not get “out of order.”

b. A meeting to cast the vision of the purpose of the city church – This meeting would assume that the groundwork for the city church has already begun. This meeting would be the “launch” of the city church itself. It would cast a vision for the mission and purpose of the city church. This meeting would go a long way in determining or informing the leadership, activities, cooperation, and structure of the city church.


Chain blog rules:
1) If you would like to write the next blog post (link) in this chain, leave a comment stating that you would like to do so. If someone else has already requested to write the next link, then please wait for that blog post and leave a comment there requesting to write the following link.
2) Feel free to leave comments here and discuss items in this blog post without taking part in the actual “chain”. Your comments and discussion are very important in this chain blog.
3) When you write a link in this chain, please reply in the comments of the previous link to let everyone know that your link is ready. Also, please try to keep an updated list of links in the chain at the bottom of your post, and please include these rules at the bottom of your post.

Thanks for reading my input into this chain blog. The next person may go his own way or he could tackle the next subject that was brought up, that of Leadership.

“City Church” Chain
Link 1: “City Church – A Chain Blog” by Alan Knox
Link 2: “City Church – Meeting” by Charlie Wallace