Over the last several years I have seen a movement in Christianity take root in regards to what the church should do. It is now not uncommon to hear someone say “we don’t go to church, we are the church.” This is a statement that I very much affirm, I believe and have for a long time that this is an incredibly true statement and the best way to understand the church.
So you might be asking what the purpose of this post is?
I believe that we need to be the church in a refreshing unmistakable way, making much of Jesus Christ. I believe we do that in the ways that we engage the culture both in a scattered form, and a gathered one. So I guess you can say this is my attempt at a response to the question being asked about why the church Gathers.
I have personally been on both sides of the spectrum of this discussion. There was a time that I would have thought the gathered church is the only time the church exists, and there was another time that I thought that being gathered was simply a waste of time. I might have even gone so far as to make the case that Jesus never intended us to gather corporately.
The church is a community of people.
As I have worked through this issue over the years I have come to this conclusion: because people make up the church, the church is in some way always gathered, and that is the way it’s suppose to be. We are suppose to be a community on the grand mission given by our Savior Jesus.
The gathering of people may not always be big, in fact there are many cases of which there is a greater potency in the churches smaller size. I am not sure we are asking the right question. I don’t think the question is whether or not we gather, the question is what happens when the the church gathers.
The church should be a glimpse of Heaven.
I had a professor in college once tell us that the church should be a tangible picture of what heaven was going to be like. I believe that is true. I think that the community who has encountered Jesus Christ, is and should be a foretaste of what is to come.
However we are not just a foretaste of whats to come in the worship services that we hold, we also have to be a foretaste in the way that we bless people in the name of Jesus. In the church that I currently serve, what we believe about Jesus has always been communicated more clearly in how we live everyday, not just in those formal gathering times.
People in our community have said at one time or another, “you guys really love people, and each other.” I think this is what it is all about. I think when you gather this is what people should see and experience.
The church is always gathered in one way or another, otherwise it would not be the church. The church is the community of faith living with Gospel intentionality and carrying out the mission of the Gospel. We need one another, we can’t do this alone, and no matter how recluse we prefer to be we are always a better version of ourselves when we are in the company of others.
I think this is how God intended it to be. God himself exists in prefect community (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). If we are made in his image than there is a part of us that will always search for some kind of community. I think that the community we look for will always be subpar if it is not centered in the Gospel carrying out the purposes of God.
So when you hear “Be the Church,” remember that means that we need to be living among other believers calling each other and those around us to the Gospel.