I am becoming more and more convinced that we have to stop “going” to church! Some may be taken back by that. “Whoa, your a pastor and your telling people not to go to church?” YES I am.
I am saying that we need to change our language. We gather for worship each week and we ARE THE CHURCH 24 hours a day – 7 days a week! This is easier said than done. At Grace Church we are defining it as simple as we can:
Connected in Worship: Here again, we don’t go to church, we gather for worship. We gather to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We gather to hear from God’s Word. We gather to worship in our financial giving. We gather to connect with the body of Jesus Christ. We are not to forsake the assembly, but strive each week to gather. Our culture says that regular worship attendance is 1 time each month. I do not understand this. If we are going to spend all eternity worshipping Jesus, why do we reserve this for only one time a month? Romans 12 says that we are not to conform the pattern of this world but to give our whole lives to worship – this is about us being the church 24/7 and not neglecting to gather for worship.
Connected in Group: We need each other in life. God has created us to have koinonia fellowship with each other. I have seen that followers of Jesus who decide to Follow Jesus alone, don’t grow and are attacked by Satan until they refuse to connect and render themselves essentially non-effective. Being connected in a smaller group, you allow others into your life. You grow as a follower of Jesus. You become more effective in building the Kingdom of God. Bottom line – being connected means that God’s Kingdom is advanced in and through you.
Connected in Serving: Scripture is very clear that as a follower of Jesus you are given at least one spiritual gift. This gift is used to be connected as the Body of Jesus. You have a function and a role in the Body. I will go as far as saying it is a sin of you do not connect in serving.
Now the above 3 are just 3 easy steps. What really defines you being the church 24/7 is your actions in your life. Your actions should be a result of the transformational power of the Holy Spirit. Its about having compassion and having your heart break when we hear of accounts like the recent tragedy in Orlando. Its not about being outspoken of what you do or do not believe. It is about putting actions at showing compassion. This can be as simple as pouring your heart out to God or as significant as the example that Chick-Fil-A showed, and you can read about it here. Now Chik-Fil-A is not the church, but the leaders are followers of Jesus. I bring this up only as an example of action and nothing more.
The core of all this is the Holy Spirit transforming our lives so we have a desire in our hearts to be the church! That our actions line up with our Christian witness 24/7. We desire to grow in the above 3 to have a growing boldness in our hearts to see others follow Jesus with us, and for us to serve our communities. This is being the church, so stop going to church!