Here's what I came up with:
- A church that finds its identity in worshipping the triune God, but maintains a respect for other religions and their beliefs and practices.
- Weekly observance of communion, the Lord's Supper, the eucharist--whatever you want to call it. The church community coming together to eat the bread and drink the wine is a profound image of what it means to be the church, together.
- Inclusive language, for God and for humanity. That is not to say traditional trinitarian language cannot be used--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. However, I'd like the church to be creative in its images of God, including the vast array of images presented in the Bible. Language for humanity should always be inclusive. Women should not have to find themselves in the language of he, brothers, sons, etc.
- An emphasis on social justice and on the material needs of people in the community and throughout the world. This would be coupled with a recognized sense of responsibility, including an awareness of the impact our lifestyle choices have on the environment.
- Honoring the calls of all who feel led to ministry. All people should be welcomed to explore their calling into ministry, including LGBT people and women. This should not be on paper only, but should be reflected in the life and ministry of the church.
- Preaching from the lectionary. Sermon series are kind of (okay--really!) cheesy, in my opinion. The lectionary allows broader attention to be given to scripture, and it connects Christians around the world, thereby opening the walls of the church to a larger context.
- Traditional, spirited worship. I used to be all for praise and worship choruses and contemporary worship. However, lately, I've been calling most of these songs, "Jesus is my boyfriend" music. If you heard it on the radio, you would think some teeny-bopper was crooning for their most recent obsession. The hymns and liturgy of the church have been around for hundreds of years. Why do we think we can do it so much better? In an attempt to be relevant, why not change the arrangement of the song? Traditional worship music need not feel like a funeral, with an organ droning in the background. This is what I mean by spirited--that people are engaged and, dare I say, enjoying it.
- A community. Ideally, the church would be multi-generational and have people who are similar in age and lifestyle to me. This makes it easier to form communal bonds. My current church is my community; my small group is not only my community, they are my friends. Honestly, they are some of my only friends. Therefore, I want a church to be a community, out of which relationships are built and friendships are formed.
This is what I came up with. I've surely missed something, and upon mention I might say, "Oh yes! That too!"
So, I ask you to dream with me. What is your idea of the perfect church? Feel free leave your thoughts in the comments.