University of Georgia researchers gave both current and former students cameras. Their instructions: Take photos that best describe their school.
The two groups obviously viewed the university quite differently. Current students snapped pictures of buildings, while former students brought back photographs of people. It’s all a matter of perspective.
If someone gave you a camera and told you to snap pictures of the Church, what would you bring back? Pictures of church buildings? Or pictures of people?
Biblically, according to Ephesians 2, the people ARE the building. The Church that Jesus built is not an architectural masterpiece of brick and mortar. Church buildings are just a convenience that make it easier for Christians to gather.
Jesus’ church is a masterpiece of human relations–believers from different backgrounds, social classes, and races being built together into a single, unified entity. It is truly a building without walls.
How did He do it? He laid a strong foundation of the apostles and prophets (v.20). And Jesus Himself provides the sturdy cornerstone that enables such a magnificent “building” needs. Because we are attached to Him, we hang together. Through Him, we come together to form a beautiful temple, fit for God to dwell in.
We probably won’t fully appreciate God’s workmanship until we get to heaven. But there, as we worship in His presence, next to a herder from Kenya or a factory worker from France, or maybe even standing next to the apostle Paul himself, we will see what God has built.
When God calls His church to heaven, He is not going to take a bunch of buildings with Him. Why bother? They would not compare to the mansions that await His church–His people.
So when people ask you if you’re “going to church” on Sunday, be kind and tell them what you know they want to know. But, as I was taught as a boy, the truth is that members of Jesus’ Church don’t “go to church” because we are always “in church” because we are part of the universal Church Jesus built.
Maybe that is why the idea of “going to church” has always galled me a bit. Now that is a strange thing to say for one in vocational ministry for his entire adult life! Let me hasten to say that I do go to church and what I enjoy most about going to church and especially CCF is seeing that I am not the only Shadowlander on this journey. What about you? What do enjoy most about going to your church? Why?
I see myself as part of the worldwide body of believers. This is one of the reasons I value having the Lord’s Supper (communion, eucharist) each Sunday. It is a time when I commune not only with God but with believers of all ages and races all around the world. Do you see yourself as more that a member of a local church? I hope so, because if you are a member of The Church you are part of a worldwide network of believers of all ages and races.
The church local has one major purpose: to help the church universal grow! Forget that and the church local becomes just another nice social club. What is your church doing to further the growth of the church universal? Is it involved in Church-building?
Church-building does not require a church building.