Every community has a center. For most its center is not its city hall or police station. For many communities their center is not the First Church. In my community the center of town is a street called Brookline Drive. On the East side of the street sits a Braums. On any given summer night you can drive by and see about half the city of Duncan. On the west side of Brookline Drive sits the true center of Duncan, Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is the one stop shop for the city of Duncan. You can go and get your medicine, toys, electronics, furniture, office supplies and food all in one visit. As you drive up to the massive parking lot you can clearly see that there are more cars parked in the lot than most likely the whole of parking lots throughout the city.
The city of Duncan is supported by a primary industry. We are a Halliburton town. Even though we are a town defined by a primary business, we also support a hospital, schools, farms, ranches, restaurants, and businesses. Once you begin to see the melting pot of people, you can hardly define its work force only by Halliburton.
How is a town defined? I believe a town is defined by its center.
Last week I wrote a little about how churches attempt to define themselves by building walls of secondary issues to keep their fellowship together and to keep others out. This week I would like to describe a fellowship that is defined by its center, not by its fence. For clarity’s sake I will call this church- “The Church of the Deep Well”. I would love to claim this idea as my own, but again this is a reflection of ideas I gleaned while reading Deep Church.
In The church of the Deep Well, the community is not defined by walls that keep outsider out and insider in, but instead it is defined by what’s at its center. Just like the city of Duncan every person who claims Duncan as their home lives in a close enough proximity so that they can go to the center and get the necessities of life. In the Church of the Deep Well your connection to the community is defined by your proximity to the center… the spring of eternal life. In this community outsiders are not kept walled out and its membership is defined by the gospel, not by secondary walls. Over the next few days, I am going to unpack this idea a little further. I will leave you with this question though- Is your church defined by secondary walls or the primary gospel?