Two common conversations continue to trouble me.
I pose the question to a stranger in the park:
“Would you consider yourself a Christian?”
“Would you please explain why?”
“Well, I go to church . . .”
And then the response of some professing Christians to anyone who doesn’t go to church: “You just need to get back in church.”
And all I wanna say is – Church is not the answer!
First off, the church is a body, not a building. A people, not an experience. We say it often, but I’m not sure we get it.
Furthermore, when the church gathers, they worship. Unbelievers should feel out of place. Darkness doesn’t really fit in the light.
Upon leaving the gathering, the church then scatters to inform the rest of the world what it’s all about. Therefore, most evangelism does not happen in the church gathering.
Redemption brings about membership in the body. Participation in the gathering is a response to that redemption. Therefore, participation in the body by those outside the body doesn’t make much sense.
And so, to the person who says, “I’m a Christian because I go to church” . . .
Why do you go to church?
If it’s because you think God will give you a pass, think again.
If it’s because your grandma does . . . your point is?
But if it’s because you love to gather with your brothers and sisters in Christ and worship the One who is your Head . . . Well, that’s because you’re a part of the body. Which means Jesus bought you with his blood. And that’s why you’re a Christian.
To the well-meaning Christian who emphasizes “church” in evangelistic conversations, may I kindly issue a word of concern.
Church never saved anybody. Only the Head of the church does that. So invite your friend to meet him. Tell them about him. Ask them what they think about him.
And then, should they observe the gathering of the body, may they find it strangely alluring. May they see the body working properly and be drawn to its Head. May “church” become, for them, a beautiful expression of a personal reality.
And may they see that church is not the answer. Only Jesus is.
And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Eph 1:22-23, 4:15-16
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