We were returning from a good night out with the brothers. I turned to my dear friend and said something about how precious and important that time was. He looked knowingly at me and mentioned something about Total Church.
The phrase echoed in my mind. My good friend could say that phrase because we share a love for Jesus as well as a great interest in football. There was a style of football popularised by the Ajax football team of the late 60’s and especially early 70’s. That style was referred to as Total Football. Whereas the game was used to being played with set players in certain positions, Total Football embraced a style where all players would be comfortable interchanging with others to create a flexibility and adaptability that provided options far greater than the more regimented system allowed. Players understood the need to cover areas and attack others in a disciplined way, but there was dynamism in the play and at its best it was a delight to see the expression of football that had no problems seeing defenders in attack and attackers covering in deeper positions.
A good question at this juncture, would be what on earth does that have to do with church?
Distinction and definition is important. I wholeheartedly agree with that. Lacking in distinction and definition can lead to confusion. I don’t like confusion at all. It is good when you know what’s what at any given time.
What tends to happen, however, is that the distinction we place narrow things considerably from how they were meant to be. For example, when Jesus came to give us life in its fullness. That suggests that for whatever reason we were not living it to the full and in some cases it could be successfully argued that we’re barely living at all. That was because we had placed distinction that limited a lot more more than was created and actually fell far short of what life had been made for. Life was to be lived totally as Jesus displayed in a life of total service to the glory of God.
That meant the parameters we put on things don’t always match with the Father. Hence the whole total church thing is about life as family that is not limited to parameters that we might set up. Parameters like locations and times. Parameters like titles and positions. Parameters like culture and traditions. Parameters like what’s going on inside and what’s influencing from beyond. Some of these parameters were useful for a season, but not meant to be the permanent fixtures of what life is about.
Indeed the journey to life in all of its fullness may lead us beyond the parameters to discover a fullness of life lived totally for Him. This goes beyond where we were to see how much more there is to life lived totally.
Imagine the possibilities and then consider the invitation not to total church or total kingdom but to total life.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden