It is Sunday... So I reflect on what it means to go to church... to be the Church. There are seasons during which the Church seems aloof from the world. The people of God maybe have not connected well with those in the world. It is easy at times to kind of retreat to the sanctuary of the facilities where we can speak and value the truths of God without opposition or oppression from those outside who are not of us.
As this season begins to wear on, some people start to launch out from the comfort and confines of the church building and rediscover the mission, which is not to gather ourselves into a holy huddle, but to go into the world, meet the hurting where they are, share the transformational Gospel with them, and bring them into the family of God to become all He designed them to be. This becomes a season of growth in the Church as the body is healthier because it is people-focused and mission-driven. People find fulfillment in the practical ministry of caring for those in need and having a positive impact in the culture.
Over time however there usually begins to develop an unhealthy relationship with the world and a worship of social ministry rather than the God of ministry. You will hear conversations that go like this...
"We are going to church Sunday. Where do you go?"
"Well, I go to the streets. That's where Jesus is. The church isn't a building. I am the church. You are the church. We are the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world. You are the only Gospel that some people will ever read."
Well... yes and no. It is good to go to the streets. Jesus is out there. The church is not strictly speaking a building. We are the church. We are the body of Christ. Some are hands. Some are feet. Some are shoulders. We may be the most common expression of the Gospel some people will ever see.
But it is just as important for us to be at home with the family of God in the dining room as it is to be hitting the streets to reach the lost. Jesus is out with the hurting. But He is also caring for, leading, and maturing the redeemed.We are the church. I am not the church. You are not the church. The Church is a gathering of multiple people. No single person is the Church. We are the hands and feet of Jesus... but not just to a hurting world. We are the hands and feet and shoulder of Jesus to the Church. God has given us gifts for His body. There are hurting people in the pews. How sad it would be to rush out into the streets to feed someone else's children while my own are starving to death. We are not the only Gospel anyone will see. The Holy Spirit is faithful to reach out to the lost. No one only gets one chance to hear/see the truth. God is as eager to reach the lost person in the jungle as He is the found person in the choir. But He is no more eager to reach one than the other.
The writer of the book of Hebrews put it this way...
Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25)
It is good and important and necessary to go out among the lost and share God's love by the means and gifts He has given us. But it is just as important to be family. And sometimes family needs to come together to have family time with the Father. God does some things within the sanctuary of the Church that He will not... dare I say, cannot do in a mixed culture of believers and non-believers.
Today go and be a part of the family in a special way. Trust me... it will help you as you go back out into the streets, office, store, etc. throughout the week. There are no Lone Ranger Christians... and remember, even the Lone Ranger had Tonto. Never stop going into the streets. And never stop going into the sanctuary of the church.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.
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My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.