“You Are the Church”
What image or memory does the word “church” evoke in your mind? I’m sure there is a whole array of things like friendship, love, meals, music, messages, prayers, mission, etc. But that’s not all. You might also think of other things like, anger, bitterness, frustration, conflict, etc. Perhaps, the one thing that resonates best with church is a building with a cross. For most people, the church is a building, a place we go to on Sundays. But is that truly the case? The church equals a building with a cross?
If we were to transport the first century Christians and take them into a modern church with lights, music and everything therein, I don’t believe they will ask, “Is this a church?” Or “This feels like a church. This must be a church, is it?” Instead, with utter confusion, they will surely ask, “What is this?” Because today’s church is not what they called church in the beginning.
The church has evolved over centuries. In the beginning, the church or Christianity was simply a way of life. There were no creeds or doctrines, no denominations or fancy buildings. It was a lifestyle, not an organized religion as we know today. In fact, the early Christians were called people of the Way (Acts 9:2). Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Therefore, his followers were appropriately called people of the way.
Once a way of life, Christianity became an institution, eventually becoming a corporation or an enterprise. When we think of a church, our minds are so fixated on a building. However, the church is not a building. It is the people, who strive to live according to the teachings of Jesus. The church is a fellowship of believers striving to love, serve and make a difference in the world. Acts chapter two provides us with a good description of what the church was and ought to be.
Tezenlo Thong, Pastor
Simpson United Methodist Church