It’s a very good question. I’ve already written a few thoughts on it, but I saw a diagram and description in Michael Frost’s new book that intrigued me enough to throw another idea out there, especially as I think about planting missional churches, and what that means.
When does a bunch of people become a church? If I have a party at my house, is that church? If I go out for a movie with friends, are we "churching"? If I have coffee with friends, are we a church? When does a bunch of people cross the line into being a "church"? Frost’s "bare minimum" criteria for elevating a simple bunch of friends into a bona-fide group of "churching people" are these:
- Trinitarian in theology
- Covenantal in expression
- Catholic in orientation
- Missional in intent
Trinitarian theology challenges the rampant individualism of our day. Covenantal expression challenges the consumerism of our culture. Catholic orientation challenges the myopia of assuming our little church is the end-all, be-all of the Body of Christ. Missional intent challenges the self-absorption of our culture.
I think I like it.