Musings On "The Distinctive Church"
"This church is different!" Fine, but why? Because everyone there is young and hip? Because everyone is Reformed? Because all the parents keep their kids out of public schools? Because the music is good and loud and original? Because there are icons and candles and an ancient liturgy to connect us to the historical church? Because you'll never see a jumbo-tron or overhead projector in the sanctuary? Because good coffee is available before, during, and after the service? Because the pastor isn't afraid to use coarse language? Because the church office refrigerator is full of microbrews? (I could go onâ€¦)
Hopefully your local church won't want to be defined or distinguished by anything except the Gospel. If the Word of Christ is central to your identity and mission, good. By definition, then, your church would seek to remove all other hurdles than the Gospel between people and God. The attitude of, "If you're not different like us, we don't like you," is a major blockade to be removed. Once these barriers are gone, and all you have left is the grace of God through Jesus Christ, then you have a distinctive churchâ€¦ only, it's what the church has always been, and what it should be. What does that do for your distinctiveness?