Last week I was having breakfast with a friend whom I greatly respect as wise and a deep thinker. Our conversation meandered around for a while until it got to the topic of the church. My friend gently said something akin to: “You know, we talk about being an Acts 2 kind of church, but I think what we really need is a Philippians 2 kind of church.” And this got me to thinking. Thinking a lot. So much I tweeted about it (so you know it’s important when you tweet about it). What would a Philippians 2 church look like in tandem with an Acts 2 kind of church.
For those who may not know what in the world I’m talking about, let me expand a bit here. When someone refers to an Acts 2 kind of church, it’s in reference to the book of Acts in the Bible. In fact, it’s Acts 2:42-47
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47
And this is some good stuff. This is how the church is supposed to be. In many ways, this is the basis of what is called the missional church. To be missional is to be a church on the mission of God. The idea comes from Darrel Guder’s book Missional Church. The church is supposed to be on the mission of God. God’s mission is to redeem and restore all of creation and He has sent the Church to do just that. The church’s job is to go forth and make disciples of all nations, of all people, helping them in their brokenness and move forth in their lives in a new wholeness found only in Jesus. Boom. Bang. That’s it in a nutshell. Kinda. It’s bigger than that really. But this is a blog post.
In many church circles, people are trying to move the church into becoming an Acts 2 kind of church. A church that reflects the church found in the Bible. A church that welcomes in all and a church that helps all; a church that moves and has its being in Jesus and a church that enjoys God’s favor. This is the church that many churches want to be like. This is a missional kind of church.
But there’s something missing in the mission here. And this is what my friend was pointing out. As much as the church needs to be an Acts 2 kind of church (and don’t get me wrong, this is so important, the church needs to be as it is in the Bible) there is a need for Christlikeness riding in tandem. To be truly missional there is a need for the love of Christ to be our very mindset and actionset.
And this is where a Philippians 2 church comes in:
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death–even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8
This is where the kinetic part comes in. Now, I was an English major in college and so I don’t know much about physics. What I do remember about kinetic energy is from my high school science class (when I paid attention…so I had to look it up on Wikipedia). According to Wikipedia, kinetic energy is ” the energy that it possesses due to its motion. It is defined as the work needed to accelerate a body of a given mass from rest to its stated velocity. Having gained this energy during its acceleration, the body maintains this kinetic energy unless its speed changes. The same amount of work is done by the body in decelerating from its current speed to a state of rest.” That make sense, right? (and yes, I did just copy and paste it from Wikipedia).
When the church is in motion, taking on the same mindset of Christ Jesus, it builds up the energy needed to move the church forward into becoming an Acts 2 church. A kinetic church is a missional church on the move. And the energy it has is based on the motion of the love of Jesus Christ. When the church takes on the mindset and nature of Jesus from Philippians 2–humbling ourselves, loving others, being servants to one another–we move from rest as church as club to church on mission. When we stop humbling ourselves, stop serving others, stop loving, then we decelerate and can’t become an Acts 2 church. It just won’t work.
So how does the church become a kinetic missional church? How does a church become a Philippians 2 church in tandem with an Acts 2 type of church? That’s for a whole ‘nother post.