What if your current church building was no longer available for you to go to worship, pray, and hear teaching each week? What if there were no church buildings in your area, your state, or your country? Would you know where to start?
- “The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” Psalm 14:2
Could you grow spiritually in your walk without the building, without your pastors, without retreats and classes? Do you have enough Christian friends surrounding you who would actively pull together to create their own church to support each other?
- “What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.” 1 Corinthians 14:26
The first “church” of Acts had no buildings. In fact, the people were the church. The church was not a building. Believers met in outdoor gatherings for large groups and, most frequently, gathered and met in each other’s homes often, sharing not only God’s Word, but meals, and support for each other.
Church = A group of believers
- “Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.” Colossions 4:15
- “also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home:” Phile 1:2
- “Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.” Romans 16:5
- “But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.” Acts 8:3 (Saul went to homes to destroy the “church,” i.e., the people)
- “On arriving there, they gathered the church together [the people] and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.” Acts 14:27
Today, when most Americans think about “the church,” we immediately think of the weekend building in which we gather. We have it backwards. We need to change our mindsets and see ourselves as the church, the body of believers who’s job is to go out into the world and change it for the glory of Jesus Christ. We need to take more of an active role in our own spiritual development, gathering together as small groups, “the church,” coming together weekly to learn together, to encourage and build each other up, and to support each other in our bold walks when we leave those groups.
- “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
Some questions for each of us to consider as we think about our own roles as ‘the church.’
- Do you know how to share the Gospel with others? Have you done it?
- Do you know how to minister to other people? Have you done it?
- Do you know how to teach other people? Have you done it?
- Do you know how to disciple younger believers? Who are you discipling now?
“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.” Hebrews 5:12-13
Don’t sit “in church” to just absorb. Be the church in this world. You have been empowered by Jesus Christ Himself.
- “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20