From my book, The Simple House Church Revolution:
Nevertheless, by the time I felt called to pastor a church, I no longer questioned how church was done. We started with a building and a core group of Christians. We invited, and planned, and organized, and put together Sunday events. We built more buildings and started more services to invite people to. We developed programs for young and old, men and women, married and divorced. We hired staff and we organized ministry teams.
Without realizing it, we were following human traditions for church life that were developed over the centuries: cathedrals, pulpit-led services, pews, order-of-service, etc. All of these things may be useful in their place (God can use anything), but they have no place in the basic definition of “church.”
Sadly, as the church has adopted more and more traditions and become more and more institutionalized, it has become largely ineffective in its impact on earth. In the western world, where we have created the best organizational church systems that exist, Christianity is declining. In contrast, in parts of India and China where the expression of church is largely organic, simple, and fluid, the church is flourishing.
Our longing is to see the church restored to its essence of life and vitality so that she becomes the full expression of Christ’s power and love on earth. This is the great hope of God’s kingdom coming to influence, save, and redeem a lost planet. Priscilla Shirer made this comment:
In the first century in Palestine Christianity was a community of believers. Then Christianity moved to Greece and became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome and became an institution. Then it moved to Europe and became a culture. And then it moved to America and became a business. We need to get back to being a healthy, vibrant community of true followers of Jesus.