Tag Archive: questions

what is Church?

If you were to describe what the Church is in a sentence or two(ish), what would you say?

I’m not looking for clever or anecdotal comments but actual best attempts to say what this is we are part of. My only suggestion is that there are likely “being” and “doing” elements to the definition, and you just might want to consider some of what is said in the Bible on the subject. But don’t let me lead you too much…

This question is one I think and talk about quite often. First, because I believe in the collection of God’s people we call Church. Yes, we are often flawed (or worse), but that doesn’t negate the importance.  Second, too many of us who consider ourselves part of the Church don’t actually know or agree on what we are! Makes it pretty difficult to seek improvement if we don’t know what we are aiming for 😉 Finally, we can be so much more, and I think that more is actually what God intends (not just the result of clever or strategic planning). What is this more that exists in God’s heart?

I am glad to share my thoughts on what the Church is, but let me throw it out to you first so I don’t bias you more than I already have. Of course, very good books and courses have been written on this subject, but I think it’s helpful to come up with a simple description, and one we can own for ourselves.

I am glad to talk with people who know they need others in their following of Jesus. The questions then turns to something like, “so what are you looking for in a church.” Fair question. And the part that is really good about this question is the assumption that the Church is meant to be fulfilling and helpful in our discipleship – and we want to ensure we are incorporating that as part of what the church is. Also, it implies that we are indeed willing to be part of something bigger than us.

However, we also need to remind ourselves that the church isn’t just what we think we want or need. It is God’s people, God’s agent of Kingdom, and a bunch of other really helpful metaphors (more on these soon) that God says it is. It isn’t simply a something for us to consume or shape into our own likeness. I don’t know about you, but I would probably craft something really fun and me-looking, and probably would avoid those bits I don’t enjoy. This of course does not mean that we are inconsequential – it is, in fact, made up of us! But our individual personal desires must be help in tension with what God desires and the others who are part. growth, satisfaction, or happiness are not the end goal.

I think it is really important to share a basic understanding of what the Church is and what it is meant to do. Then, we can talk about our individual needs/preferences/gifts in light of that. We can also get creative with HOW it’s done based on the best ways to help people experience God and grow into the likeness of Christ. Otherwise, we create something that is suited for us and perhaps no one else. This would miss the very clear mission of God (and therefore God’s Church) to be outward focused.

I am hoping that as we live into this, we can talk/do our way into what God has in mind. What does God want to create that will be a blessing to many, including us? Seems that if we are praying and God is in it, it could be really amazing. I am looking for a church that helps people (me included!) to become more like Jesus.

What are you looking for in a church?