…let us not neglect meeting together as in the habit of some
Hebrews 10:25 NLT
In my last post, I talked about the importance of finding a church and getting involved. Today, let’s talk a little bit more about what the church is.
My church history
I grew up in the Catholic faith. We went to church every Sunday even if we were out of town. I believed I had a good idea of what a church was since I had been there so often. I thought the church was a building. Going to church meant showing up at the building and sitting in pews with a lot of people you didn’t know. You were supposed to be quiet and listen to the service. Maybe you would fall asleep and then you would go home. And rarely if ever did you interact with those people during the week. The Catholics did it one way, the Methodist another way, the Baptist had their way. Each denomination had a different flavor but it was the same basic thing.
When I was an adult I started going to a non-denominational church. I thought was free from the rituals of the Catholic Church and had arrived at the perfect church. I soon saw that this church had its own rituals and was far from perfect. I also began to understand my concept of the church was flawed. I started to see that the church was more than a building.
I didn’t get spiritual and go research in my Bible about Jesus’ view of the church. I came to the realization that we are the church. That’s right, you, I and other believers are the church. Whenever you interact with another believer you are having church.
We, the sheep, are the church.
I went to church today
I went to church yesterday. I texted a friend in another city first thing in the morning. I talked on the phone with another friend. Her husband got a miraculous raise at work. She is a member of the same congregation that I am. I had lunch with a lady from the Women’s group. I texted another friend later. We talked about how her new class in school is going. She used to go to the same congregation as I but no longer does. And finally, I had a conversation with our banker about God. I had no idea she was a believer until yesterday. We have been banking there for over a year. I had contact with five different women yesterday. I went to church! I didn’t walk into the church building. Jesus says in Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there.” That is going to church.
I am not saying that the brick and mortar building is useless. It is important! It is a place for believers to gather. It is a place designed for us to learn and grow as a community. It is the place where we are equipped for the working of the gospel. It is the place where relationships are formed. We, as flawed humans, have turned the concept of going to church into something it was never intended to be.
Where does this leave you?
In reality, there is no perfect church this side of heaven. I am 57 and have been in church my entire life. I have never been to a perfect church. The one we attend now is not perfect. We feel God has us planted there. The church is made up of saints who sometimes sin. The church is a messy place. That is okay. We are each at different points in our relationships with God.
Jesus is the key to finding a good church.
Things to ponder:
- Churches come in different flavors like ice cream. Find one that you and your family like. Make sure that Jesus is talked about a lot! If he isn’t the main focus, it is not the church for you.
- You may have to try several churches before you find one that fits. While it is frustrating, it is okay.
- Churches can be messy. If you get involved in the real lives of others, you are going to get your hands dirty. Relationships are work. But it is amazing to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know in the comment section.