What Is Church For?

[In the New Testament, Church is] what happens when the news and presence of Jesus, raised from the dead, impact upon the human scene, drawing people together in a relationship that changes everyone involved, a relationship which means that each person involved with Jesus is now involved with all others who have answered his invitation, in ways that are painful and demanding but are also lifegiving and transforming beyond imagination.

Rowan Williams, quoted in Moynagh  "A Church For Every Context."

What does it mean to be church? How do the ideas of the Church and the Kingdom of God relate to one another? This presentation largely draws on, and summarises, the discussion in Moynagh's book "A Church For Every Context." It explores three models of church and Kingdom:

  • Church-shaped kingdom:Through the Spirit, the church makes the kingdom present.
  • World-shaped kingdom: The kingdom is present in the world and the church points to it.
  • Kingdom-shaped church: The kingdom, though present in the world, is distinctively present in the church

It also touches on some underlying theological questions that drive how we conceive of church, and will affect what we think we are on about, and hence what we do.