The Church for the Good of Others

This is an excerpt from a post written by Erwin Raphael McManus at the Origins Project site:

When researchers try to break down what is happening at Mosaic, far too often they see the skin and miss the heart. They see nine gatherings in seven locations, and so we are a multi-site congregation. Or they see more than 50 nationalities, and so then we are a multi-ethnic church. They see a community whose average age is 25, so we are postmodern. Or they are captured by the fact that we meet in a downtown L.A. club called the Mayan, defined by the thousands of pagan gods that cover the entire complex, and label us an emerging church. The most ironic is that when they listen in on our conversation with an unbelieving world and discover that our community is overflowing with people far from God —and they conclude we must be emergent.

To tell you the truth, I don’t know what we are. We are constantly learning and growing and changing. We are really an experiment. We are endeavoring to discover if a community of faith can exist purely for the good of others. Can the Church become the greatest humanitarian movement on the planet? Can we become the epicenter of human creativity, innovation and compassion? Can we create humanity’s next great culture? We think to ask what kind of church we should become is not only the wrong question, it is boring. We should be asking… what kind of future do we want to create?

At the heart of all of this is that every human is created in the image and likeness of God. We are broken and fragmented images—the material from which a mosaic can be formed. We are committed to calling out of every person the greatness that lies within. We are a disrupting sound breaking the silence of the mundane, awakening the hero within us all. This call is not in conflict with the glory of God but in fact brings God the glory He is due. We have fallen far short of what we were created to be, but in Christ all things are made new. Jesus came to bring us life in abundance—we’re just trying to flesh that out in community and in the world.

I love the line: “discover if a community of faith can exist purely for the good of others.”  To me this is the call of the church.  From the beginning, God’s plan has always been to choose a people so that they could bless the world.  Election has always implied service.  It’s a call to bless the world.  It’s not primarily a gift that saves you from the world.  I appreciate the clarity with which McManus articulates this calling for his church.