Throughout the Total Church conference we learned of various ways the Crowded House pushes gospel-centered community and community-centered gospel through their church practices. Here are a few:
- Baptism: They view baptistm as a visible sign of entrance/way into the community. “It is attractional because it says to others that anyone can come in. It is a declaration of leaving the community of judgment and entering into the community of grace.” Not clean up first, make sure they are a “believer” for a while and then baptize. Baptize upon conversion.
- Communion: If baptism is the way into the community, communion way to stay in the community. Consider Isaiah 55 as a communion text. It is always a opportunity to proclaim the gospel. Communion as meals, not plastic cups and wafers, creates a community context in which the gospel is celebrated and witnessed.
- Preaching: The West has unduly given the sermon primacy in the ministry of the Word. In fact, it has reduced the ministry of the Word to the sermon. All the energy, time, and money spent on preparing for a one and a half hour event on Sundays betrays American ecclesiology: the Sunday service is teh church! What we need is a complete ministry of the Word, which includes mutual counseling—”gospeling”—to promote a Word-centered life, not just a sermon-centered service. Crowded House asks the question: “How are we going to live together in submission to the Word.”