“We are going to church on Sunday.”
Don’t say it! If you are a Christian, you aren’t even saying the right thing. Why? Because the church is not the building – it’s you. As a Christian, you are the church.
I know, I know. You are probably rolling your eyes. Everyone knows that or has heard that phrase before.
Ok, if you know it, then why do you continually use that phrase all the time? I do it. I admit – I say, “Come to church on Sunday.” Or, “I’m going to church this Sunday or Wednesday.”
Similarly, I’ve heard this said many times by many pastors, “Welcome to the house of the Lord.” No, that’s not right either. God does not reside in the building where the church gathers.
This may seem really small, but a small spark can start a huge wildfire. We need to be careful how we talk about something so precious as the body of Christ. When we speak in these terms it promotes a segmented faith. People no longer think of themselves as missionaries in their workplace, instead, they think the only place they can commune with God is at the building on Sunday.
“You are the body of Christ and individually members of it” 1 Corinthians 12:27
Three advantages to reorienting our thinking.
1. People see themselves as on mission instead of being the mission.
When we see ourselves as the church it opens up a whole new perspective. Wherever the believer goes, he or she is taking the church with him. It is in essence “taking church to the people.” Whether at work, school or Starbucks, you are the church. What is the mission of the church? To go and make disciples. Therefore, as the church we are going rather than simply attending.
2. People come to worship with local believers instead of worshiping themselves.
When you just “come to church” on Sunday, it becomes a consumer driven culture in the church. In other words, you go to get something just like you go to WalMart. It becomes another place to go on a to-do checklist. That is why we are always thinking, “how can we get more butts in the seats.” This is the typical consumer driven culture that is created by a me-centered approach. Instead, we should think, “we go to gather with other believers to be strengthened and encouraged to go out and continue making disciples.”
3. People will worship God with their lives instead of just one day a week.
As Christians, Christ calls us to die to ourselves daily – not just on Sundays. What this means is that everyday we should be thinking how we can worship God throughout our day. It is not trying to be good during the week just so we don’t feel bad on Sunday. The Christian who has this perspective may not even be a Christian at all. As a Christian, you should ask everyday, “Is what I am doing glorifying God?” If a Christian sees him or herself as the church, he or she doesn’t worry about going to church. Instead, the Christian is convicted daily about his or her sin and will grow closer to Christ throughout the week, not just on Sundays.
This has got me thinking…are we doing it all wrong? Are we doing church wrong? On a more personal level, are we doing youth ministry wrong? My goal from now on is to encourage the students to see themselves as the church, not simply coming for fun on Wednesday night.
Are you the church or just going to a church?
Thoughts? What can we do better?