catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 1, Num 5 :: 2002.11.08 — 2002.11.21


I am the church, you are the church

*cino and the universal body of believers

As the *cino board of directors has struggled through the creation of a mission statement in the last couple of months, we have come to realize more clearly our relationship to the church.

Every Christian organization has the ultimate goal of strengthening the Christian witness and thereby strengthening people's perceptions of the church. Some organizations do this by physically engaging in God's dirty work, cleaning toilets in the homeless shelter, feeding the smelly and the ugly and the incontinent, teaching English to immigrants whose knowledge of the language is limited to the word "orange juice." These are the organizations who are washing the feet of even the least desirable of God's kids, spreading the Good News through social action. They do good work, but *cino does not fit into this category.

Another category is that of evangelistic organizations. These are made up of those whose mission it is to spread the word through The Word. They are handing out Bibles, witnessing on university campuses, and ultimately trying to prove the existence of God and the transformational sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Again, while this is all good work, it is not where *cino fits.

For lack of a better word, I've been calling us a discipleship organization. Our goal is to challenge those who already accept the lordship of Christ to take further steps toward serving Him in all of life. We have a vision for the body of believers that is based on the picture presented in Ephesians 4:11-16 of a body that is complete, diverse, and moving harmoniously in the direction of spiritual maturity. God created us to fit this image of perfection, so it's not like our vision is new. However, because of sin, we must constantly challenge each other to strive for the ideal.

There are many, many ways we can challenge each other and build each other up. One of the primary ways *cino seeks to do this is by exposing and connecting people who are practically serving God in radical ways. The internet has made it possible for us to be incredibly connected, to interact with one another in a virtual environment, to find information on projects all over the world. We are using these attributes of the internet essentially to illuminate the choices.

One of the obstacles to applying faith to all of life is lack of information. We work 9 to 5 office jobs because we think it's all we can do. We throw massive amounts of garbage away because we don't see any other use for it. We struggle to pay multiple car payments because we don't know of any other practical way to get around. But by working together and sharing experiences, we can discover ways of serving that we never even thought of before.

Another obstacle is that we are simply afraid. We value our security and our material comfort. We want to know within reason what we can expect from each new day. We secretly fear that we are alone and that deviating from social norms will thrust us into devastating alienation. But this is not the way God created the body of believers. We are dependent on one another to the extent that we cannot function alone. By creating an online community, we are trying to provide one more way for the nourishment to travel among parts of the body so that we have a healthy circulatory system.

If you visit *cino on a regular basis, we hope that you will get the impression that there are other options, that there are people out there who are taking leaps of faith and surviving, even thriving. The church is alive and, in many ways, well. Our job is to proclaim loudly, 24 hours a day, and hopefully at a speed high enough that gives you easy access: "There are people who are doing great things and they can't change the world without you!"

Our function as an organization is not to feed the homeless, nor is it to hand out Bibles. Rather, we seek to equip and encourage the members of God's church who are doing God's work to expand their witness, to work together, to serve joyfully and to reclaim all of culture for the One who created it.

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