There are really only three churches that you should be paying attention to:
The Church – this is a really really big group of people – literally scattered all over the world, it includes people of all races, all nationalities, all denominations. There are many differences but there is one common theme running through them all:
They all believe that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins and that by believing in Him we will have eternal life.
A brief story to illustrate that. A few years ago we were leading a mission team down to Haiti (my wife and I). We took the team to a local Haitian church service on the Sunday morning we were there.
It was a two hour service and I understood a few words since it wasn’t the first time I have heard Creole. Most of our team had never heard Creole before that week.
After getting back to where we were staying, one of our team said something that really struck me, “That was the most spiritually moving service I have ever been to – especially since the only word I understood was “Amen !””
A Church – “Whereever two or three are gathered……” Jesus makes it very clear that it doesn’t have to be a big building. It doesn’t have to be a building. A church can be under a tree in Uganda. It can be under a highway bridge (there is one in Texas). It can be at a coffee shop. It can be at a brewery (See “Doubt on Tap” in Ann Arbor every Tuesday). It can be in a traditional church building.
But it’s a gathering of people with a common bond. They gather to worship Jesus. They gather to care for each other. They gather to gain the spiritual food they need to be able to be the salt and light of the world. They support each other and they lean on each other when they need assistance.
I have a friend who, I believe, is a Christian (he says he is) but he doesn’t go to “a church.” Why? Because he feels like every church he has ever been involved with has not been supportive, has been hypocritical and has made it harder to be a Christian.
My Church: My church is very simple and yet very difficult to describe. Very simply, it’s the group of Christians that I gather with to worship God on a regular basis.
But that’s not the whole story. Because you can go to a church for Sunday morning worship for years at the same building and it’s not truly what you can call, “My Church.” Why not?
For a church to be “my church” it has to be a church that you have an emotional involvement with.
- Not only do you attend there, but you are known there, know people there and have an emotional and intellectual attachment to the church that takes place in that particular location.
- That means that you weep with those who weep, you mourn with those who mourn, you rejoice with those who rejoice.
- That means that you care for each other and that you invest in the spiritual and physical lives of your fellow church members.
- It means that you feel like you are worshipping and living among family.
It is possible, then, to be a “member” of one church and actually have another church be “my church.”
Oh, the other thing about my church – it’s the place where you go to refuel and recharge so that you can go out into the world and make it for another week.
Is the church you attend the one you would call “my church?” If not, what do you need to do about it?