Spring Harvest went really well - including my seminar on the church. A good group turned up despite the sunshine and we talked a lot about why people struggle with church and how we can help them find a place.
In the course of the seminar we drew up an ecclesial minimum - a brief list of things a group has to have to be church. Here's what we came up with - see what you think:
The presence of Jesus
teaching and learning
sacraments - especially communion
catholicity - that is relationships with other groups of Christians (I think this one came up because it had been the aspect of the church that was the theme of the previous day!)
Able to face tough times as well as good ones
Worship did not appear because I ruled it out before I set them compiling their lists in small groups. I suggested that the early Christians didn't meet to worship because that was a 24/7 activity along the lines of Romans 12:1. My full argument about this is in chapter 2 of Building A Better Body.
What I was really impressed by was that no one suggested that any of these activities had to happen in a special building or involve large numbers of people.
That gives me hope for the future of the church.