For now, I wanted to bring up a subject close to my heart: the church gathering pattern established in the New Testament. Dave Black pointed out an article by Brent Davis about the idea of cultural relevance and the church. It's a hot topic, and depending on what we're talking about. I think Brent may be oversimplifying some of the problems when it comes to "worship styles", but his thoughts are well worth considering. My favorite excerpt, with which I heartily agree:
[T]he early church did not gather together in an effort to "appeal" to anyone outside the family of God. They gathered to benefit one another. They still accomplished their evangelistic mandate within their communities, but they did so primarily through personal, discipling relationships. They did not depend on culturally relevant institutional structures, music styles, programs or money. They didn't need to! After all, what could be more culturally relevant than a genuine relationship? When Christians authentically live out the implications of their priesthood in Christ they do not need artifical, insitutional structures to prop-up a passive faith.
The authenticity of their transformed lives validated their message. As their little families of believers grew, they started new ones all over their towns and cities. They did not just get bigger and bigger in one location.
Squabbles about music styles and "what constitutes worship" aside, this is a point that, for me, points up what may be the number one difference between the first-century church mindset and that of modern Churchianity.
Something's broke, and it needs fixin'. Is there room in Scripture for Church as Business? Really?