If you ask someone where to find the closest church, they will probably direct you to a church building. But that is a real problem…a church building is not a church! Often Christians talk about going to church. It is impossible to “go to church.” This is not mentioned anywhere in the bible. We are the church!
This is not just a play on words. Calling the building a church is like calling a group of soldiers the barracks. We convey through our words an improper understanding of the church. The Bible teaches clearly that we are living stones being built together into a spiritual building (1 Peter 2:5), not a building made of bricks and mortar. We are built together by a relationship with God and by relationships with one another.
I am not against church buildings; I am just concerned that people think that the building is the church. The church does go to various meetings that might take place in a building. But the church is a spiritual family.
Jesus once said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). Jesus was not talking about building a church building; He was referring to building His people—His own special people – connected together by relationship!
The church in Acts met from house to house. Sure they met in larger meetings, but the church met as spiritual families in their homes. In Romans 16, Paul the apostle gives his greetings to the various churches meeting in homes throughout the city. And by experiencing this simple method of building the church by relationship from house to house, the gospel was taken to the entire known world within a few short years. Amazing!
On a personal note, I look forward to meeting with hundreds of Christian leaders from fifteen countries and from all over our nation next week at the Sandy Cove Conference Center in Northeast, Maryland. These leaders really believe in the church Jesus talked about; not a building, but a company of people called and committed to living the kingdom and transforming their world.
Go to church? Impossible! Be the church? Phenomenal!