Go into a crowded place and ask 10 people what the first thing they think of is when you say, “Church.” Many people might think of something like this:
That’s the Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, England. It’s a magnificent piece of architecture. I’ve personally seen the 2nd & 23rd largest cathedrals in the world (Seville Cathedral in Spain & the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC). They’re amazing in their scope, scale, and usually in their reverence, meaning people respecting the building as a place of worship.
Maybe people think of this.
A preacher in his element, speaking from the word of God. Or perhaps they think of Communion, giving, or singing, something to do with a worship service. This is all well and good, but incomplete. Maybe they think this:
As a minister I LOVE Bible study, but still not it completely. I wonder if people think about this:
That’s not church…is it?
You see, the word the New Testament uses for ‘church’ is ekklesia. What’s that mean? Well it means literally a group of people called to a purpose. For you Greek nuts out there it was actually a legal term used for convening a group of people the public place of deliberation. So all the people who would show up would be the ekklesia for the proceedings. Regardless, did you notice what the term is focused on? Not the place. Not just what you do. It’s focused on their being a group of people. Ekklesia isn’t ekklesia without people.
The other term from which we get church is kurion which mean’s “Lord’s House” & eventually be came to associated with the place the church assembles, but the original word means the people. That means wherever Christians are, there is the church.
Coffee shop? There’s the church.
At the hospital? There’s the church.
At the library. There’s the church.
At Wal-Mart? There’s the church.
At home? There’s the church.
Now do we worship together all the time, like on Sunday morning? No, but that doesn’t mean ‘church’ ends when you walk out the church building’s door. Biblical Christianity is so much more than ‘going to church.’ Biblical Christianity is BEING the church, wherever you are & wherever you go. Romans 12:1 tells us Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. This basically means worship is no longer something we go & do & leave, but something we are constantly doing in every aspect of our lives. It’s a life orientation to quote Jim McGuiggan. It’s a perpetual desire to make God part of every desire, a commitment to make every commitment committed to Him.
At NHCC we have a saying. “When is church? All the time. Where is church? Everywhere.” And we should all strive to make that the case.
This blog begins a new series in which we look at a few things church is NOT followed by what church needs to be. We’ll delve into what it means to be the hands & feet of Jesus, why Sunday morning is important, why Sunday morning can ruin your Christianity, what it means to walk in the light, & what God’s will is, among a few other things. All these things make up what church is, and I pray you’ll be blessed by this journey. Grace to you.