On any given corner one can locate an established church. And on any given weekend that church will either be full of worshippers – or the opposite – scarcely attended. The majority likely exist somewhere between the two extremes.
So why start another church? Why not join and strengthen one of the many already in place? Logically speaking this makes perfect sense. Most of us could have every one of our needs met in one or more of the currently established churches around town.
But perhaps this truth inevitably creates a problem. If I were to try and explain “the problem” as I see it…I would fail to express what I can feel in my heart. Thankfully roughly 20 years ago – author Brennan Manning – put pen to paper and somehow captured my thoughts exactly.
The greatest need for our time is for the church to become what it has seldom been: the body of Christ with its face to the world, loving others regardless of religion or culture, pouring itself out in a life of service, offering hope to a frightened world, and presenting itself as a real alternative to the existing arrangement. “The church that is worthy of the name is a band of people in which the love of God has broken the spell of demons and false gods and which is now making a dent in the world.”
I want neither a blood-’n’-guts religion that would make Clint Eastwood, not Jesus, our hero; nor a speculative religion that would imprison the gospel in the halls of academia; nor a noisy, feel-good religion that is a naked appeal to emotion. I long for passion, intelligence, and compassion in a church without ostentation, gently beckoning to the world to come and enjoy the peace and unity we possess because of the Spirit in our midst.
The signature of Jesus, the Cross, is the ultimate expression of God’s love for the world. The church is the church of the crucified, risen Christ only when it is stamped with his signature; only when it faces outward and moves with him along the way of the Cross. Turned inward upon itself in bickering and theological hairsplitting, the church loses its identity and its mission.
At the dawning of the twenty-first century, what separates the committed from the uncommitted is the depth and quality of our love for Jesus Christ. The superficial among us build bigger barns in the euphoria of a prosperity gospel; the trendy follow the latest fad and try to hum their way to heaven; the defeated are haunted by ghosts from the past
But the victorious minority, unintimidated by the cultural patterns of the lockstepping majority, live and celebrate as though Jesus were near—near in time, near in place—the witness of our motives, our speech, and our behavior. As indeed he is.
(Brennan Manning – The Signature of Jesus)
This is why Living Stone exists today. Not because we “do church” better than the others. Not because we have all the answers; and certainly not because we are the perfect pattern to follow. We exist today simply attempting to follow in the footsteps of Christ our Savior.
In 1 Peter (chapter 2) you can read about the Cornerstone (Christ) of your foundation (life). And you can see that this Stone is alive; though He is rejected by most. There in that same chapter you will read of some who are called to be Living Stones in the same mold. These stones are being assembled together placing all their hope and trust in the precious Cornerstone of life.
And so we assemble and pray that God will build us into something pleasing and useful. If your desire is to learn more about what it means to live like Christ – then you are a lot like us – and we invite you to join our mission.
Rejoice in Christ,