Lately, I’ve been really asking myself and asking God what the church should be like. What does it mean to be “the church?” Is the church a building? As the church, how should we demonstrate love like our heavenly Father?
Before I delve into the subject of church, I’d like to give you a little back story to help you understand why I believe what I do. I grew up in the church. I had a radical and personal encounter with God that forever changed my life in my teen years. After college, I went on to full time ministry with Youth for Christ- teaching, evangelizing, connecting girls in the church buildings and outside of the church buildings. It didn’t matter if you went to church or not- you were included. If you wanted to volunteer, there was always a place for you. Although we weren’t technically a church building, we lived like the church. The purpose was to connect- love people and share the gospel.
Some say the church is about the people…
…and I agree. But then, why are we segregated by denominations, preaching things according to our understanding of the Bible and meeting in our smallish community pods (only within our church people group) and congrating to our massive building Sunday mornings? Why do we have to “become a member” which includes a bunch of hoop jumping, in order to be a leader in our churches? The Bible makes it so much more simple than this. It’s not about our agenda.
Connection Comes Through Christ
It’s essential that we get this. Christ is supreme over all creation. As it says in Colossians 1:15-17 “Christ is the visiable image of invisible God. He existed before and anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.” It’s important that we understand our place in this world. God is above everything.
It is through Christ and his death, that we are reconciled and have connection. We really need to get this, if we want to do connection the right way. When we know our place, then we have order, direction and connection. God gives us the direction into every party of our life- how to live, love, forgive and trust. Our connection with him, brings us purpose and meaning. We were meant to fist connect with him and secondly to connect with people.
Do We Need Church?
I have recently been asking myself over and over- do I really need to be committed to one church building? If church is really about people and not a building, then why do I need to commit to a building? I know what some of you may be thinking…. how is that community and how is that growing the church? Stick with me for a bit…
Let’s Look At The Church In The Book of Acts…
The book of Acts does an amazing job of showing us how we are suppose to live as the church. In the book of Acts, it shows how believers are to form community, worship and fellowship.
In Acts 2:42-47 it says “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper) and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in sessions and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshipped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lords Supper, and shared meals with great joy and generosity- all while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.”
So here you have it. We are suppose to pray, fellowship, worship, share meals together as believers in Christ. We are so suppose to give to those in need. But I propose that we do not have to be segregated. Segregated meaning…we teach our views on the Bible and what we believe is true. That is not revelation, that is theology. And I don’t know about you but theology is exhausting. Truth speaks for itself. It’s not an opinion, it’s a fact.
The Word Of God Stands Alone.
It trumps any human opinion. When we accept the truth, it brings the most beautiful transformation. In the book of John (8:31,32), Jesus says to those who believe in him “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Freedom is the result of a life that is focused and governed by God.
We Do Life Together As Believers In Christ.
If we truly are the body of Christ, then it should not matter what denomination or church building you belong to. It also should not matter if you are African American, Caucasian or Hispanic…diversity brings with it so many opportunities to grow and learn as believers in Christ. It can bring a lot of unity when we go outside of our race to get to know others, that are not like us. While doing this, we get a deeper connection with God. The Bible states that we are “made in the image of God” so really we get to see more of God through people. Instead of assuming about others, we can understand them. Our perspectives can change and we can really grow to love God and people more.
God’s Grace Is Empowering Us.
Grace empowers us to live a life that goes beyond what we can do. Grace gives us the ability to go beyond what we can understand and opens us up to receive from God. It allows us to exchange our human perspectives and understand from a heavenly mindset, what life is about. Grace offers us the best conversations, centering on the word of God and giving clarity on what the Holy Spirit is saying to us. The Holy Spirit is our helper and our guide. As we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, we can read scripture in a way that is outside of our human thinking. When we are in tune with the Holy Spirit and reading our Bible, it gives us encouragement, power, and understanding which allows us to step into loving one another and our communities.
Let this be a challenge to all of us. No matter what is happening in the world- we have control over how we love. Each one of us has the opportunity to “be the church” so let’s do it. Let’s exchange the lies for the truth. Let’s exchange the fear for love. Let’s exchange our selfishness for humility. Let’s embrace our truest identity as sons and daughters of a loving God.