Church? by Mark Searle

Church? by Mark Searle

Watch the video or read the transcript below

What do you think of when you hear the word church? We have a problem with this word in English because we use the word church to describe both the building and the community. It’s short hand that gets into our thinking and we start talking about going to church, meaning the building when the primary bible understanding is of the community of people who believe in Jesus.

If you are a follower of Jesus then you are part of his church family. This means that church does not primarily happen in a building. But it also happens wherever you live and work and relax. We are also the church at every season of life. At the joy at the birth of a child, with the pain of disappointment, as we celebrate achievement and at the grief at the loss of a loved one.

So instead of one word, lets use two phrases.
Church family and Church building.

As a Church Family we have a clear purpose given to us by Jesus in Matthew 28. It is to make disciples who make disciples. Everything we do needs to be focused on this to be subservient to this. Our groups, our meetings, our worship, our teaching, our outreach, our finances – everything.

So what about the church building? If the church family is people, then shouldn’t we just ignore the building? Well there are a couple of options here. We could leave the church building and just meet in homes, coffee shops and parks. This is actually really important and something that should be part of the life of every church. The scattered church is as important as the gathered church.

But just shaping church family like this also has its down sides.

First, is that it is not cost free to meet somewhere else, it is just that that cost is dispersed and hidden.

Second, is that the high profile central gathering point becomes less visible. We lose that element of being a beacon on a hill.

Third, and possibly the most important is that if we were to leave the church building completely what kind of message would that send to each and every person that walked passed a closed or dilapidated old church?

The other option is that we set the church building to work for the purpose Jesus has given us. We make it the best disciple making facility that we can and we fill it with disciple making people.

We might not choose to start from here, but this is where we are. A church family, who have inherited a church building to meet in. So our task as we follow Jesus is to make disciples who make disciples and to set everything to work for this purpose and for his Glory.

Jesus says, “I will build my church”. I think what Jesus means is that he will build the church family and we have the privilege of joining in.


Mark Searle