I have been communally and individually meditating on this quote over the past week. It is challenging to me on a number of levels.
The church is "a dynamic set of relationships, friendships and acquaintances. It enhances and flavors the host community's living social fabric. It thus creates a medium of living relationship through which the gospel can travel. It emphasizes the importance of a group of Christians infiltrating a community, like a salt and light, to make those creative connections with people where God-talk and shared experience allows for real cross-cultural Christian mission to take place." (The Shaping of Things to Come, pg. 42)
If the church embodies this decentralized and incarnational mindset it will in turn become unmanageableable, more difficult to keep track of, more obtuse to define, more cumbersome to hold on to and more out of control. This is a wonderfully difficult thing. I am experiencing the joy and the dis-ease of leading a community that is taking this seriously and running with the idea that the church is scattered and gathered and as we scatter the Gospel is traveling through organic and invisible webs of relationships. We are learning how to bless people and organizations with no strings attached. We are giving ourselves and our resources away. We are caring for serving and loving people and organizations that have no direct return benefit on us. The difference between who is "a part" of our church and "who is not" is becoming fuzzier and fuzzier. This is the nature of salt and light. It brings out the God-flavors in the world and the God-colors in the world. Thanks be to God for the joy of following after my community as they lead me into these uncharted waters.