The Miseducation of the Church
Just hearing the word CHURCH evokes different feelings for different reasons. But have you ever looked up the meaning of church? The word church comes from the Greek word ecclesia. Ecclesia, according to Merriam-Webster, is actually a political assembly of citizens of ancient Greek states; especially: the periodic meeting of the Athenian citizens for conducting public business and for considering affairs. If you think about it, a church is simply a gathering of citizens thinking about the same thing: the word of God.
A church is not just a building. Whether it is a gymnasium or amphitheater sized structure, it does not create a church.
A church is not just decorations. Cushioned pews, carpeted floors, stained glass windows, and expensive statues do not create a church.
A church is not just music. A grand orchestra of musicians and a mass choir of fifty individuals do not create a church.
A church is not just money. Large mutual funds, primary shares, stocks, CD’s, savings accounts, and investments do not create a church.
A church is not just a mass of people. Whether it is 10, 100, 1000, or 10000, people do not make a church.
A church may have all of these things, but these things alone do not create a church.
The church of the Bible is organic. (It is derived from living matter.) It lives, breathes, walks, talks, and feels. In Luke 8:43-48, a church is walking through the streets, following and listening to the teachings of Christ, when one of the women congregants reaches out and touches Jesus. In Luke 5:17-26, a church has followed Christ into a home. A handicapped congregant is lowered through the roof by some other members of the church. In Matthew 14:13-21, Jesus feeds a church of five thousand plus members, who had followed him to hear him teach.
Did you notice in each example there is a group of people following and listening to Jesus? Where ever there is someone following and listening to Jesus that group is the church! It does not matter how large or small the group is…it is a church. It does not matter if they have a building, or are meeting under God’s firmament. It does not matter if the members are tone deaf or
not. Furthermore, it does not matter if the members are poor or not.
If the group is following Jesus, it is a church.
So, are you looking for a church? Well, make sure you are looking for
the right characteristics, or you might find yourself in a large building,
populated by many rich individuals, singing majestic songs of Zion who
do not know a thing about following Jesus Christ.
That is one perspective. What’s yours?