The following is the introduction for the new book: Return to the Wild by Mary Rodriguez
You can pre-order the book at this site: http://www.therebuilders.org/return-book.html
It has been reported that over one million Christians are leaving institutional churches every year in America alone. Most of them are not leaving because they are falling away from Christ. They are leaving because they hunger for more of Him. In short, they want a deeper walk with Christ and an experience of the church that is more closely lined up with what they read in their New Testament. They are seeking a church experience that is real and expresses the life within them.
Because of this mass exodus from institutional Christianity many are seeking alternative forms of church life such as house church, simple church, and missional church. However, the problem is that these “alternative” forms of church end up being, in essence, institutional themselves. The simple reason for this is that you can only do what you know and if your only experience is institutional, then whatever you do will be institutional. You may have left the institution, but has the institution left you?
This quandary has placed these institutional refugees in a difficult situation. How does a group of believers who have left institutional church now become an authentic organic expression of the church as we see it in the New Testament? They have never experienced anything other than the institutional.
Many have tried “Biblical Blueprintism” which basically means that they take the New Testament (especially the Book of Acts) study it together, and then try to imitate what they see there. But this doesn’t work because the Book of Acts isn’t a “pattern” to be copied; it is a record of the very life of God being lived out through His people.
So the question that is begging to be asked is; how do we learn to live by the same life that those people lived by in the record of the New Testament? The question is not, what did they do so we can copy it? But rather, how did they live? We are all accustomed to performance based religion and yet changing what we do will never bring about true body life. The rabbit hole goes much deeper than that.
The key is found in what Paul called a mystery:
“Christ in you (plural), the hope of glory” Col. 1:27.
“I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” Gal. 2:20.
The reason that we have such a difficult time finding authentic body life on this planet is twofold.
- It is not found on this planet! It is only lived by another Life which is not from this place. The “church” can only be lived by the divine life of Christ within us.
- We must completely turn from the old ways of our natural man and the systems of man. We have become “domesticated” (a term we use in this book) and need to be set free from the moorings of religion into the “wild” of the riches of Christ Himself.
We need to realize who we are in Christ and who Christ is in us. We need to discover our true spiritual “instincts” in order to see and experience Christ as our genuine food and drink. And we need to awaken to the reality of our need for true community life in His body. We need the help of those whom God sends to us who have experience in this life.
Receiving a “sent one” is a very important part of the equation (Matt. 10:40). Those attempting to live the organic expression of the church will need the help of an outside itinerant worker. This must be someone who is not only called, prepared, and sent to this work, but who also has experience living in and planting organic churches.
This book is an allegory of these spiritual realities. It is the story of our journey from the institutional to the authentic and the organic. Surely, you will see yourself along this path at some point. Our hope is not only that you will see where you are currently, but also where God wants to take you.
Dear believer, you are a true lion. And God wants to set you free to live the kind of life that fits your identity. He wants you to Return to the Wild.
You can pre-order Return to the Wild at the following link: