To start this 31 days of blogging about church, I thought I’d start out with some thoughts about what I mean when I refer to “church.”
Do I mean the building that a church meets in? It could be, but not very often. Where a church meets isn’t that important.
More often, I’ll be referring to church to mean one of the following:
- An individual group of believers – people who routinely gather together to worship God. This could be a group of 5 or 500 or 5,000. It could meet in a beautiful multi million dollar facility or it could meet under a shade tree in Uganda.
- A group of churches that together form a denomination – Baptist, Reformed, Catholic etc. They are a group of churches who all believe the same things when it comes to certain aspects of Christianity – i.e. adult vs. child baptism, Christian education vs. public schools to name a few. There are certain differences that are “important” but in reality most of them are relatively insignificant in the big picture scheme of God’s plan for the world.
- The institution of “the church.” By this, I mean the entire collective body of the church – this could be “the church in Africa” or the “church in the United States.” That would then include all of the people in North America or in Africa or wherever who believe in Jesus and consider themselves to be part of an individual group of believers who regularly gather for worship.
I know that’s not all that exciting but look at it that I’m laying the foundation for some of the deeper and more thought provoking (hopefully) topics I’ve got planned for the month.
If there are any particular questions you have or things you would like me to talk about, let me know.