Would the Real Church Please Stand Up!

If I get together with you in Starbucks and have a coffee, is that church? If a few of our friends get online and chat about God and share our lives, is that church? Somewhere along the line the reaction to the institutional church has resulted in the “postchurch” church which is the one that happens pretty much wherever…. But is this really church?

Frank Viola writes

Three common critiques that postchurch advocates level against the institutional form of church are:

1) It breeds low commitment.

2) It feeds the consumerist, individualistic Christianity that plagues the Western church today. (In consumer Christianity, religious teachings and experiences are goods that one “buys into” by becoming a subscriber to a particular church that “sells” those goods. Religious professionals produce these religious goods, and consumers pay to keep them in business. Those who consume the same sort of religious goods are no more members of a real community than those who shop at Walmart.)

3) It produces little transformation in the lives of the people who are part of it.

Ironically, these same three critiques can be appropriately leveled at the postchurch “church.”
The postchurch breeds low commitment because there are no regular gatherings nor is there any real community life that’s consistent. (Talking to Christians on the Internent is virtual. It’s not a substitute for authentic Christian community where people’s lives are shared in Christ.)

The postchurch view also reflects the consumerist, individualism that reflects our culture. Why? Because there’s no devotion or commitment to a regular community of believers. It’s church on your own terms. Whenever you feel like it.

The truth is, the postchurch “church” is actually more convenient and easier on the flesh than virtually every other form of church.

Somewhere along the spectrum between the institutional church and the postchurch church, must be …. The Church?!?

Can anyone give me a heads up to where it’s at?