The church needs both diversity and unity. We need to be ready to go beyond our current edges, so that God can take us into new places. The church’s challenge is to reach out, and so to extend. If all we do is to try and bring people in to join us in our way of doing things, then we are not going to grow as we should, As Michael Moynagh (in “Church for Every Context”) says: “The church joins its Lord in mission when it goes beyond the edge of its existence. As it does so and new communities are formed, the kingdom is brought more fully to life in the new setting. Repeating the process, one context after another, makes the church increasingly catholic.”
Moynagh goes on to identify five indicators of a church that is reflecting the life and ministry of Jesus. This is so when a church:
- identifies with a specific culture;
- forms communities in the midst of people’s immanent lives;
- endures a ‘death’ as it brings forth new life;
- finds that the church’s centre has followed Jesus to the rim;
- anticipates the inclusion of ‘all things’ in the kingdom.
So, are those evident in our church life?
Jesus makes all things new. That’s what we should be doing. Of course, we are there in a particular time and place – but we should be in the business of transformation. Moynagh again – “Contextual churches will correspond to the life of Jesus, therefore, not just by being present in the status quo but by transforming it, by pointing to the time when every place will be renewed. They will follow Jesus when they walk his radical path.”