The congregating of Christ followers most likely started directly after the spread of Christianity in the first century. Over MANY years we have what we call church today. The beautiful buildings, sometimes testy air conditioning, hopefully comfy pews, potluck dinners, and outlandish youth group games are how the typical description of the church is perceived in typical minds and conversation. But, is that all we are? Are we defined by what we have and the look we give off? Have we become that superficial as a society? Now, don’t get me wrong, nice churches are most definitely a blessing from God. But if you dig deeper what really defines the church.
The church is the people, not the building. Now, there are some questions that arise with this statement. For me, thinking about this brought up the fact that in the Old Testament the church WAS the building and not so much the people. But why? In the Old Testament the church/ tabernacle had a Holy of Holies that was not for the common man to enter. This where God was; this is where the church was.
When Christ died, so did that. The Advocate ( Or in Greek, Paraclete <— I learned that in New Testament class) or the Holy Spirit changed the way things work. God is found in us. We have the opportunity to experience the power of Christ in our lives more than before. Now, this does not discredit church. We are still called to come together in Christ’s name! Plus, I mean who doesn’t love the wacky youth group games! Am I right or am I right?
The picture above was my church youth group on Sunday morning. I put it because my topic is church and what defines it, but mainly because it looks so sweet! We met in a building, but to me, many of those people I could experience the power of church outside that cramped room! I see God in those people more and more each day. That’s what it’s like here at MNU. Church could be the picture at the top or the one at the bottom; in a square with a fountain in the middle of downtown Wichita’s party scene blaring Jesus music, playing frisbee, talking to strangers, discussing life, and reading scripture. I could also experience church outside on the grass late at night or on my RA’s couch. To me, it’s beautiful that this whole campus is like a church. After all God shows up in more than a stained glass building! Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Now don’t get me wrong I believe God absolutely sees a congregation gathering to bring honor to His name on any given day! But as my pastor back home once eloquently stated, ” Sure you could go to church without members, you’d just end up saying ” Yeah, I went to building this morning.”.
In conclusion, I hope that this either opened your eyes to where or through who you could experience God. Never forget the way the church is talked about; the bride of Christ. And plus, why would Paul write letters to churches if they didn’t make a difference in life? As you go on with your busy day, take time to thank God for the gift of freedom, fellowship, and unfailing love he presents to us.
Keep on and keep God my friends,