Christian Unity
Church Is Not Just Who We Are, It's Also Where We Go
We don't just go to church, we are the church. But the going helps in the being.

When people say we don't go to church, we are the church, I resonate very deeply with them.

The church is not a building or an event. It's people.

But there's a part of me that resists saying we don't go to church. Because we do.

Church is not just who we are. It's also where we go.

It makes no difference if we gather in a brick building with pews and stained glass, a renovated storefront, a multi-purpose room, a megachurch, a coffee shop or a house. But it does matter that we go somewhere.

The church is not just people, it's people who meet together. For worship, fellowship, discipleship and more.

The meeting part matters.

As long as we exist in physical bodies, those bodies will require physical places to have church meetings.

As long as we exist in physical bodies, those bodies will require physical places to have church meetings.

No, It's Not About the Church Building

It is obviously true that for a lot of people, the physical church building and the weekly church event are far too central to their spiritual life. For many, it's the entirety of their spiritual life. That problem has plagued the church at least since Constantine and we will need to resist it until Jesus comes again.

So, to the degree that those who say we don't go to church, we are the church are fighting that battle, you can consider me a brother in arms.

But there's a temptation to swing the pendulum from one extreme to the other.

While there are some churchgoers who virtually worship their church facilities, it's unreasonable to go to the other extreme of thinking that the only way for the church to be healthy is to have no facilties.

Don't Worship the Church Building – Or Your Lack of Need for One

Some Christians have no need for church buildings at all. They can meet anywhere. In fact, for a lot of them, the church building is a distraction, so they've left the building in order to hang on to the church. Good for them. Truly.

But, for many others, the building draws them in, reminds them to gather, and encourages them to open up in worship. These people aren't worshiping the church building, but they do prefer to worship in a church building.

No Holy Places

Physical buildings are not the church. They aren't even a close substitute.

For New Testament believers, there are no holy places – aside from our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit.

We are the church. Everywhere. At all times. But we need to gather as the church, too.

Some don't like going to a special building when we worship together. Some are blessed by having one.

Use whatever draws you closer to Jesus and his people. Then go out to bless the world. We don't need a building to do that. But we do need Jesus – and each other.

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The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.

December 15, 2015 at 8:52 AM

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