Andrew Hughes | Category: The Church Community
Before you decide to unsubscribe from this blog, hear me out. I’m really not talking about giving up the weekly gathering of believers. I’m talking about how we refer to the “church” and our view of “church.” How do we define it?
You all know the children's rhyme: "Here's the church. Here's the steeple. Open the doors. And see all the people." It's so easy to create a church that WikiHow has a article on "How to Create a Church with Your Fingers." But is this right? Is the church a structure in which the people meet? Can I really just put my hands together and suddenly have the shape of a church?
The Church Is Not a Building or an Event
Have you heard yourself recently say the following in reference to the physical location your church gathers: “Let’s meet at the church.”
Or maybe you have commented to a neighbor regarding the worship service: “We have church at 10:45 on Sunday morning. You should visit.”
Interestingly, there is not one NT use of the word church that is a reference to a location or an event. The use of church is always about a group of individuals that have been called out by God into a special relationship (just a few references: Matt 16:18; Eph 1:22-23; Eph 5:25-28; 1 Tim 3:15; 1 Peter 2:9).
Implications on Changing Our Definition
Maybe, right now, you’re saying, “Andrew this is all semantic nonsense. I know what I mean and others know what I mean.” Maybe you do and maybe they do. But chances are they don’t know and chances are that your own verbiage is influencing your mindset more than you realize. I know this is true for me.
I recently started trying this with my own children. One Saturday evening recently, anticipating Sunday, I told my 4 year old that the church is not a building but rather the people. In the recent weeks since, where I have been trying to change my language with them, the conversation has revealed how even his 4-year-old mind has been heavily influenced with “place” language.
Me: Son, what is the church?
Son: The church is the people.
Me: Right! The church is not a building.
Son: Right, Dad. The people are the building.
Hah! Okay, so I have some work to do here still and take the blame for the problem. But, I’d encourage you to take up the challenge in your own life and just see how it might transform your own view of the church and your responsibility as one of those God has called out as His people.
The purpose of our church blog is to serve the overall mission of our church: to delight in the beauty of God's greatness,