What is church? Is it a place to be entertained, like a concert or a show – with worship leaders and preachers as the entertainment? But what happens if the preacher has an off day? Or the style of music doesn’t suit someone’s preference? At home, you’d just switch to a different channel. Is that all ‘Church is’?
Or is church like a shop – somewhere to find a particular service or product? Should we compare the market to get the best deal? What happens if someone can’t find everything they want in one place? Do they go to one church for the singing, another for the kids' work, and another for the preaching? They’ll have everything to their taste, but is that all ‘Church is’?
Or again, is church like a spiritual hospital – somewhere for the sick to go to get better? People are helped in overcoming spiritual ailments and addictions. There are professionals to help and people who care. But what happens when the sick get better? In hospitals no-one stays a minute longer than they have to! Is that all that 'Church is'?
Obviously every analogy falls short.
• Church is more than a show – we all get to join in.
• Church is more than a shop – it’s a family business that we run together sharing responsibility.
• Church is more than a hospital – we are all patients and helpers and everyone gets to stay.
In the Bible, God gives us some more helpful pictures of what church is:
1. Church is a family of believers (Ephesians 2:19), which makes Sundays like a family gathering, where everyone brings what they can, where people are noticed and known, and burdens are lightened by being shared.
2. Church is a temple (Ephesians 2:21), where the God of heaven can be found on earth, where people are given hope and healing, transformed by the presence, power and promises of God.
3. The church is the body of Christ, where we get to be Jesus’ hands and feet. Each of us playing our part, going where Jesus would go and doing what Jesus would do (1 Corinthians 12).
4. The Church is a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9-10), a people who know that heaven is their home and Jesus is their Lord. A people who belong to God that they might declare his greatness to the nations, inviting the world to enter into the Kingdom of God.
That sounds good doesn’t it? Join us over the next few months as we journey through the book of Romans, exploring what ‘Church is', aligning our expectations and releasing our potential as God’s people. Church is more. Be part of it.