Last week Kathy and I celebrated our 17 year wedding anniversary. We made plans to be kid-free for a few hours so we could have lunch together without asking for kid menus or arguing about why, “you can’t just eat ice cream.” After we dropped off the kids, we sat in the car for about 15 minutes trying to find a restaurant that was open with dine-in seating. How obnoxious! We finally found one, but it got me thinking about the church. We haven’t met in person since March. Some have disengaged and others have just felt distant and disconnected. But for many, it just seems like the church is closed.
If this pandemic has done anything, it’s reminded me of what….or who, the church is. When the word “church” comes up in conversation, the first thing we think of is a building. We have this mindset that church is a place we go to on Sundays. The spiritual gas station where we get to see other familiar faces. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we don’t “go” to church; we are the church.
In 1 Timothy 5, Paul describes the church as people dedicated to doing whatever it takes to reach out and help others. We have a responsibility to serve and help others in need as the church. Caring for each other (inside & outside the church) is the quickest way to see Jesus change lives. Too often, we see a need and wait for the pastor to take responsibility. But that’s not the way church works. But I believe that’s why many in the church have had such a hard time. Those “things” that they’ve been accustomed to others doing for them (i.e. creating relational and serve opportunities), have suddenly shifted to their personal responsibility.
Caring for each other (inside & outside the church) is the quickest way to see Jesus change lives.Tweet
Each of us has been given skills, abilities and opportunities to serve, both inside and outside the church (not the building!). In Timothy’s church, for example, the women ran a widows ministry (1 Timothy 5:16), and elders directed church affairs while others were devoted just to teaching and preaching (1 Timothy 5:17).
In the Bible, church is always a reference to people, not a place. The church is a body of believers that live out the Gospel in their displaying and declaring. The church is at its best when people inside the building take Jesus’ message outside the building and serve those they meet. Be encouraged as you live out this perspective of YOU being the church. Yes, we’re open! We’re always open because YOU are the church.