The church is (or should be) a group or community of people following Jesus. That’s it.
Yes, the corporate gathering of believers is important, but not at the expense of a feet hitting the ground & kicking up dust kind of personal walk with God. Worship in a church setting is great, but how often do we worship God individually or with a small group of friends/fellow believers? Fellowship (for lack of a better word) is important, but we’ve got to make real time for for people, developing relationship & community with them. Accountability is important, but just how accountable are we, slipping in and slipping out of a group of three hundred believers on a Sunday morning.
We’ve learned to lean on the church (the institution) as a crutch, or maybe as a pill; a way for us to get all of our spiritual needs & obligations met & fulfilled in one place, in one or two hours. Get in, get ‘er done, get out.
This is where I want to shift my mindset. Stop doing church, stop (merely) going to church, and start being the church. This is what we were called to be!
I’m including an excerpt of “Understanding Ministry” by Dennis McCallum & Gary DeLashmutt, to help illustrate what I am thinking.
The word translated “church” in the English Bible is ekklesia. This word is the Greek words kaleo (to call), with the prefix ek (out). Thus, the word means “the called out ones.” However, the English word “church” does not come from ekklesia but from the word kuriakon, which means “dedicated to the Lord.” This word was commonly used to refer to a holy place or temple. By the time of Jerome’s translation of the New Testament from Greek to Latin, it was customary to use a derivative of kuriakon to translate ekklesia. Therefore, the word “church” is a poor translation of the word ekklesia since it implies a sacred building, or temple. A more accurate translation would be “assembly” because the term ekklesia was used to refer to a group of people who had been called out to a meeting. It was also used as a synonym for the word synagogue, which also means to “come together,” i.e. a gathering.
I wish you could hear my laughter as I write; excited, mischievous, nervous all at once. Ha ha! We are getting closer! Love God, and love people. Do it on your own time too, not just in a once-a-week, pre-allotted two hour time period. Amen. Obviously, I’ll be writing more on what I think this means soon. Just stirring the pot for now…