Thursday, January 31, 2008

Define "Church"

Okay – here’s a question for all of you – what’s “church”?

Over the past year my definition of church has changed significantly. I think most people’s definition of church would include some or all of the following elements:

1) A building where people meet;
2) There must be a decent number of people;
3) Some music, a sermon and a passing of the plate.

Honestly, I don’t think any of these things are bad, but I also don’t think any of these are “church.” I believe all you need for church is two or three people and Jesus. Isn’t that what Jesus said in Matthew 18:20?

The church is believers (those who believe Jesus came to restore our relationship with God) gathered together. No mention of buildings, crowds, music, sermons or offerings. Again, none of these things are bad – UNLESS they get in the way of people helping people and people spending time with Jesus together.

In fact, Jesus told the church leaders they needed to figure out what God meant when He said, “I desire mercy not sacrifice.” (Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13 & 12:7). Mercy is what we show towards each other; Sacrifice is a ritual we perform. Another time Jesus taught that if we are bringing our offering to God and remember that someone has something against us we are to leave the offering and go work thing out with the other person. Then come back and worship God (Matthew 5:23-24).

It appears God values relationships over rituals.

Okay, that’s enough stirring of the pot for one day. Let me know what you think.



Anonymous said...

Ahhhh,.... now you have touched on what is familiar and comfortable vs what is unusual and "out of the box".... that sounds like you, Dave! Tee Hee

Dave said...

Box??? What box??? There's a box???

Anonymous said...

You got it. -- René

Dave said...

Hey Rene! Great to hear from you - I trust you all are doing well.

Anonymous said...

thanks for including me in your blog...i enjoyed reading it. I believe that we dont Go to Church. I believe that people who are born again believers indwelt by the Holy SPirit of GOD being regenerated by HIM and HIS Holy WORD, are the CHURCH/body of Christ.

I dont go to Church, I am a member of the Church/body of Christ but I do enjoy worshipping together with other believers in song, praise, prayer and bible study.

I love to talk about what GOD has done for me over the years.

I have used the I am going to church phrase for all my life, it is hard to stop saying it.

I say I am going to worship GOD with others, no matter what day it is. I enjoy my relationship with the Lord JESUS so much more now in different ways HE is blessing me and to HIM I am totally dependant and thankful.


Dave said...

Hey Robin,

I agree that we ARE the church.

The Bible also describes us as the Body of Christ. So, I believe we should be doing what Jesus did. The whole WWJD thing got pretty abused, but the truth is it's a good question. A lot of what we do today isn't what Jesus did. While he spent time at the Temple, He seemed to spend more time in the streets and in people's homes.

So, if we are the Body - I think we should be doing the same.

Friend in Kentucky said...

hey dave!
i know acronyms are old fashioned but here's my definition of church.
C_hrist-centered family of believers
H_onoring God in worship, service, and in all they do.
U_nited in love, encouraging each other to do what is right according to God's will and purpose.
R_eaching out beyond to those lost and hurting.
C_aring for all whom they encounter.
H_aving a vision of growing in Christ to be the people He wants them to be.
Your friend in Kentucky<><

Dave said...

Hey Friend,

I like your acronym. Each of the things you mention focus on people - not institutional structures that have become regarded by many as the "church".

Anonymous said...

a quote was given to me a while back and i think it is very interesting:
"There is a place
where Friend holds fellowship with Friend,
A place then all beside; more sweet.
It is the Blood Bought Mercy Seat!"
i don't know if this came from an old hymn or what, but i thought it to be very thought provoking.
anyway, i also wanted to add that in Mark 1:21-39 (On a Sabbath) Jesus prayed in solitude, preached to many, healed others and continues on. The Sabbath was about relationships, first with the Father, then with others. It was about doing the Father's will not only on the Sabbath, but daily. So church, is a body of believers seeking first, a closer relationship with God, then reaching out to others ( as well as within the body) as Jesus did on a daily basis. Encouraging what is right according to God's will and purpose for them.
well, that is the thought that enters my head and heart. whatcha think?


Dave said...

Hey Kristine!

Great to hear from you & I agree with you. There was also a Sabbath when the religious leaders scolded Jesus because His disciples were picking grain to eat. What's interesting to me is on this same Sabbath Jesus went to the Temple but was run out by the religious leaders with death threats. Is there a lesson for our churches today in these verses???