'A church exists by mission as a fire exists by burning', a modern theologian once wrote. From the New Testament it is also clear that a Christian continues in that mission by the continual fire of the Spirit at work in their lives (e.g. Rom 12:11).
That fire of the Spirit, the ongoing experience of God keeping us ablaze, infectiously affects those around us. It drives us out to the last, the least the lost against the odds. That fire of the Spirit enables lives to be touched and transformed, to join in too when likewise on fire for the Lord.
We must never let flame of God's work sizzle out, or worse replace it by institution. Yes we will build structures to attempt to manage the various people in discipleship, worship and mission ... but the real ongoing force will be the work of the Spirit individual by individual.
Wesley wrote of the Methodist movement: 'My fear is not that our great movement will eventually cease to exist, but that our people will become content to live without the fire (of the Spirit)'.
Let us continually burn ... keeping in mind that institutions must ultimately come second place to that need for the ongoing work of the Spirit in each of us. No fire, no mission, no church!