Thursday, November 29, 2007

Is Church a Building?

How often do we "go to church?" How often do we think about our walk with God happening at church? How often do we invite people to come to church? How have we gotten so mixed up that we think that church is a place to go, instead of realizing that church is the People of God present to the world?
Jesus gave two commandments; the first is the Great Commandment: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself." The second commandment is the Great Commission: "Go and make disciples." When God's people are living out these commandments of knowing God, loving people and serving the world, we are the church.
Church is not a building. We do not go to church. We are the church. I think that this thought alone can revolutionize how we live out our faith. I think that going to church has created a division between our regular life and our spiritual life. It has given us permission to segment our life; and it's one of the reasons that we see so much disparaity between our church life and everyday life.
Sunday when you wake up, don't say, "I am going to church today." Instead say, "I am the church today; how can I be light to those that I encounter through my week?"


Dori said...

Tamara...just found your blog last week from Scot McKnight's...Dori B. from Midwinter here. The church...yeah...this has been on my heart and mind for awhile something the other day that also kind of goes along with this...rather than being a "seeker sensitive" church, why not be a "seeker church"...the people of God going out into the world...seeking those like Jesus did...rather than expecting people to come to "the church"...we are the church moving out into the world. It is probably a bit of a both-and...but I have been so struck by the later image of the need of us to move out rather than expecting people to come to our building.

Matt said...

Right on, Tamara.
As I was thinking about church planting some time ago, I wrote this in my musings about the church:
"We are a people, a particular community within the worldwide Church. We are not even 'a church'; we are a local gathering within THE church. We are not a building (“what a beautiful church!”) or an event (“hey, let’s go to church”). We are organized, but not merely an organization. We are part of a denomination, but not primarily an institution.
We are a particular people, devoted to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God revealed in Jesus Christ, the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit."

We--God's people--desperately need to recapture the idea that "the church" refers to our identity. It's so much less about a place or an event or an organization. It's who we are.

Tamara Buchan said...

HI Dori,

Good to hear from you. I like the idea of being "a seeker church" seeking out Jesus ways...what are some things that you are thinking about doing at Hillcrest?

Tamara Buchan said...

More and more I am convinced that one of the weaknesses of the modern church is that we have not helped impart to God's people "who we are." We do have a strong identity and it is when we begin to move from our identity, instead of what we were taught to do: have a quiet time, witness through the four spiritual laws, go to church, then we can move with authority and the power of the Holy Spirit. Identity is one of the most important themes for the 21st century.

Lindsey Osborne said...

yes. to be the church takes away the numbers, the formalities, and much of the admin and leaves you with relationships- with Jesus and each other. We move towards this in Young Life as well...its YL not just at club but when we sit in a cafeteria with kids or show up at their games.

Tamara Buchan said...

HI Lindsey,

What if we really began to think that the church is truly where "two or three are gathered?" What if Young Life wasn't considered a parachurch organization anymore, but actually the church? What would that change? Would it be positive or negative?

Curtis said...

What a bizarre image we must present to a non-believer when they look towards the Church. What should they make of our buildings, denominations, sects, non-profits organizations, televangelists, political activists, cultural critics, cultural hypocrites, family feuds and schisms? How could they possibly perceive a body that is headed by one Lord and King that has been sent into the world with two great commandments and one great commission? How could they possibly be drawn to come and seek God in what they see from the Church? Praise God, the Holy Spirit, allows individuals to hear a call from the cacophony and confusion that we present. Praise God that His rivival will come to teach us how to act like a body again.

Tamara Buchan said...

HI Curtiss,

It is interesting to take a step back and see what the world must think. Why do you think it is so much harder for Christians to unite over the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, than it is to divide? I am grateful for the opportunity to be about his kingdom purposes.