My buddy Joe on mySpace started a discussion on what is the most important aspect of church to start with. He listed what he distilled from Rick Warren's mechanistic view of church: fellowship, worship, discipleship, service and evangelism. I think a compartmentalized view like that is just plain screwed up, but I wanted to go in a different, but related, direction with this post.
What is the most important thing about your church to you?
My experience in asking such a question, and as a church planter you ask this one a lot of people, is that every one of us will answer that question differently at different times. I suspect that our churches meet certain conscious and unconscious needs for us, and that depending on what need is operative we will answer in a particular way.
I think this quesiton is good for two reasons:
1) It gives us an insight into what needs are animating us.
This is a question we ask so that we can hear our own answer. What is the reason worship in song is so elevated for us at that moment? Why isn't it the community? Why isn't it the encouragement to maturity? It is good to acknowledge and even understand our own needs. I think we hesitate because of the myth that we should be self-sufficient.
2) It gives the minister an insight into what is working well in the church.
When I asked this question recently to our group I phrased it like this: What does Freedom mean to you? I was given answers of relationality, encouragement, community and caring, prayer and the like. It showed me that there is something special about the community we have at Freedom Vineyard. It lets me ask why other aspects were missing, perhaps they are not functioning as well as they should be. This helps to shape the direction in which I pray and move as the pastor. I need that kind of feedback.
So here it is, I put the question to you. You can share in the comment or just ponder it. What is the most important thing about your church to you? I would love to hear some of your responses.