Have you ever had a church experience that you didn’t want to end? Have you ever felt like “This is heaven on earth” during a worship service? I’ve heard people say that God “showed up” at church or they pray for the presence of God to enter the place and to “fill the atmosphere”. We all long for God to touch our lives in a spiritually tangible way. I don’t think that is wrong to want to feel those emotions. I think that is ok. Everyone wants people around them who want the same thing – that person that you can just call and pray with and they are ready and willing to join you. Everyone wants a friend who is just as passionate about serving Christ as they are. There may even be times when you wish that church was extended just so you can share what God pointed out to you, or you don’t want the music to stop. Honestly, you may feel that your church may even be the BEST church there is! Some other churches could take pointers. “What’s the point of so many buildings, just make ours bigger since God is obviously working here”, you think to yourself.
Other times it’s the opposite.
Are there any good churches anymore? There may be way too many programs and clubs at church, but none for you or not enough of them at all. “Why did I even come to church? What was the point of that?”, you wonder. You come hungry and thirsty for the Word only to leave disappointed and empty….still empty. That message was not for you and you may feel actually feel annoyed by your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The music is not your “style” and you wish that the First Lady had some style. the service is too long or too short, too formal or too laid back, too quiet or too loud. You compare and critique your worship experience and figure that the church could be doing a better job at engaging their members (which by the way, there are way too many or not enough).
What really should be happening here?
The orginal word for Church is a greek word that means “the called-out ones”. It is the ministry of Christ left on this earth to show love to others and to draw them to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The church is the heart of God.
Church is not an experience but an example of loving relationship to the world around us. We are called out of the world’s system of what they define as love and we show them a true example of love that they can get to know as their own.
In the prayer of Jesus, He states “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven.” The church is a Kingdom establishment. The groom has gone to prepare a place for His beloved, but in the meantime, He has called all those who take His name to represent the Kingdom here. Showing love is our mandate. It’s not about a service, our experience (whether good or bad) or how you can be served – it’s really all about LOVE! We are the church whether we are in a building or not, whether we are in a service or not, whether there is music or not. We are the Church at home, at school, in the office, at the grocery store or in a courtroom. Wherever we find ourselves is where God’s Kingdom should be established.
When a representative, an ambassador, of a Kingdom arrives, they always display their flag. That flag is a symbol of their loyalty and the King of the Kingdom. Our symbol of love is an old rugged cross. We should always be bringing the message – Jesus loves you – by what we do, what we say and even in our attitudes when we are gathered together.
It is not our place to critique God’s body, but to love. As the “called-out ones”, we need the right mindset of what Church really looks like. Church is who we are and we have church wherever we gather. We “re-member” ourselves to reflect on the love of Jesus and how we can share it with others around us. We confess our faults to each other for prayer, healing and strength to continue the fight for winning souls. We do good to everyone, especially those in the household of faith.
Remember, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son”. His name is Jesus. When we gather together, we are simply reminding each other of His love and extending that love to each other and a lost world. The very Son of God was born from love, died because of love and is returning for His love – the Church. So the next time that you are tempted to have a wrong perspective of church, remember that YOU are the Church. How are YOU sharing the fact that your sins are forgiven? What does YOUR testimony portray? In what way do people see God’s banner of love over YOUR life?
Let’s have church.