The Church is PEOPLE
Years ago, I arrived at the door or a two-bedroom apartment and knocked. A young woman answered and invited me into the “office” of a new fellowship that had been planted one year earlier. They were meeting together in a day care center on Sundays, but through the week, this small apartment was the hub of activity. It was a hub, not a church. The church was scattered all over Dallas, Las Colinas, and a few other nearby suburbs. This little office was just a coordinating spot for that scattered group of people.
Because they were a church plant from a large church in Dallas, their early days were marked with trips back to the “mother church” and the use of their baptistry. But after months of doing that, I heard a brilliant question formed in a thick Louisiana accent, “Why don’t we just use my pool for that?” They had said before, “The church is people, not a building,” but on that day it really sank in for many of us. The church wasn’t a place, a sacred space. It was a group of people who were following Jesus. That perspective was as refreshing as a cool rain in August! It shaped my heart permanently.
Today, our church is a larger family and we have the convenience of using the spaces that we have built together, but we must never mistake the building for the real church. And we must never forget that our gatherings are only momentary, but our ministry as the church is happening wherever Jesus-followers are living, working, playing, and relating to other people.
This Sunday, we’re going to talk about THAT church–the “beyond-hierarchy-and-buildings-living-breathing-group-of-people-who-follow-Jesus” church! Anticipating this weekend has reminded me of that fresh, exciting reality that Jesus birthed 2,000 years ago. So, I get excited hearing about a new homeowner who moves into a neighborhood and claims that neighborhood as her mission field for ministry. Every time she loves, encourages, serves, or has a conversation with a neighbor, she IS the Body of Christ on that street. Every time she prays for the family down the street, she IS the church. And no building will ever be big enough to host THAT church!
So, are you living AS the church, or are you fixated on GOING TO church (a building)? Never forget: the church is PEOPLE!