Lately articles about “why people don’t come to church” seem to appear in all forms of media. They are critical and disparaging. We use the word “church” in such broad senses today and as various parts of speech. Depending on the sentence, church can be a noun (a building or a group of people), an adjective (church clothes) or a verb (let’s do church). All of these leave people with an emptiness at some point that makes them search for another “church”.
Let me encourage you with what I have learned in painful circumstances over the past years. A church is not a building; it is not a congregation; it is not a thing you do; and it is not a way to act, sing, or dress. Church is the body of Christ. The body of Christ is made up of saved souls. Therefore, church is people with faces. It’s the voice of the one calling to check on my injured child. It is the arms of the young child around my waist squeezing ever so tight. It is the hands of the dear one who knitted me a hat and scarf. It is the brother who asks me how I am doing because he genuinely wants to know. It is the sister praying for my lost loved ones. Church is a family of people related by the blood of Christ. He said, “They will know you by your love for one another.” (John 13:35) In the fellowship where I meet each week, there is love. It’s not about the style of worship nor is it about the dress of the pastor or shouts from the congregation. It is about the presence of Jesus as you sit among those who are indwelt with His Spirit. In His presence is peace and fullness of joy. It isn’t in the building; it isn’t in what we are doing; it’s in the people God is indwelling. That is His church.
Burning within me,