What is Church?
The word church is a translation of the Greek word ekklesia, meaning “a called–out assembly”. The word describes a group of people who have been called out of the world and set apart for the Lord, and it is always used, in its singular form, to describe a universal group of people who know Christ. The word ekklesia, when pluralized, is used to describe groups of believers who meet together. Interestingly enough, the word church is never used in the Bible to describe a building or organization.
If you ask Christians the question “what is church”, you will get some answers that are the same and many that are different. I am not going to tell you that any answers are wrong or right. I do want to focus on five aspects that I believe should be part of all churches.
Many people associate worship with a worship service. Some people will categorize worship into two types. A traditional worship service includes many aspects that have been added by the church institution. Contemporary worship has reduced the amount of components included in the worship service. Churches that adopt either forms do it because they feel it enhances the worship experience or follows a prescribed pattern that has been followed throughout the centuries.
Unfortunately, the worship has become 90 minutes of the week where we come to get filled. Worship is meant to give glory and praise to God. In turn, we get filled with the Holy Spirit. When you meet as a church, what does your worship look like? Are we there to give or get? At the end, do you ask the question, does this please God? Rethink church.
Many people who attend church meetings, do not read or know their Bible very well. We have others read the Bible to us and tell us what it means without dwelling in the Word so that we confirm the message. The Bible is where we get our instruction. Some churches include other reference materials to add to the instruction of their church institution. This is one of the reasons the church has fractured as it has.
God wants us to get to a place of maturity. This comes through teaching. Ephesians 4:11-16
The expectation that years of schooling are required to be a pastor or teacher is not valid.
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests? “Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
Prayer is our means of communicating with God. When we omit prayer from our church and our lives, we cut off communication with God. If God is not the center of the church, we are doing things for selfish purposes. Jesus, who was part of God went to Gethsemane to pray. At times, in the traditional worship service, prayer has become robotic and scheduled. This is not how a relationship with our Lord was intended to be. Does this please God? Rethink church
We are called to disciple. Many people feel they do not have the gift of discipleship. I am guessing that a group of fishermen were not expecting what happened at the Sea of Galilee one day.
We often sit in our church building and wait for people to find the need to come to us. We need to go out and make disciples. Conversion is a word that is often used. This involves one person. Discipleship involves many people as it multiplies. Does this please God? Rethink church
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”, At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
We meet once maybe twice a week. In our cities, we have lost what community means. City planners call sub-divisions ‘communities’. Ironically, something that includes the word division is also called community. The true sense of the word community is what happens in rural areas. People gather together to help each other. They get together to enjoy a communal meal (breaking bread) and work together (seeding and harvest).
Most evenings and weekends, (exception Sunday morning) church buildings are closed and dark. They are functioning less than 25% of the time. If someone were to want to go into a church building to speak to somebody outside of office hours, they would not be able to. Why are we not using the advantage of having a church building for the betterment of God. Does this please God? Rethink church.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.