You may have noticed the new name for the blog. I decided that since most of what I was writing was related to the church and her functions as opposed to our family’s ministry it might be best to change the name to reflect that.
So what is meant by functional church?
A Functional Church goes beyond merely looking like a church; it is a church that does what it is intended to do.
Take for example a key. I can look at a key and know for sure that it is a key. Why? Because it has the marks of a key: a place to hold onto, a place that gets inserted into a lock, bumps and grooves (are these technical terms?), and perhaps a hole for attaching it to a keychain. If it has the marks of a key then it is really a key. But if I leave that key in my pocket and never use it for its intended purpose, then, even though it is really a key, it is not functional. I can even use a key as a paperweight, as a makeshift knife for opening the plastic wrap on CD cases, or even to scratch the silver stuff off a prepaid cellphone card so I can load my phone. But even though the key proves useful in these situations, it is still not being used for its intended purpose. So then, how do I make the key functional? By using it for it’s intended purpose, namely opening locks.
Initially we have identified four Marks of the Church and four Functions of the church. (We will start with these as a benchmark with the understanding that they may be changed, moved, or eliminated.)
Four Marks of the Church (what the church is while gathered): Worship, Word, Sacrament, & Governance.
Four Functions of the Church (what the church does while scattered): Community (Koinonia or Building God’s Kingdom), Proclamation (Kerygma), Truth-Telling (Marturia), & Service (Diakonia).
Of course this concept of Functional Church is a work in progress. I initially heard of it from the work of Dr. Augustine “Jun” Vencer, VP for Leadership Development at DAWN. Since then a team of us at South East Asian Theological Schools (SEATS) have been trying to distill this into local churches in South East Asia. We look forward to interacting with you on this as we develop this concept in a biblical and practical way.