When you think of CHURCH what comes to mind?! There are unique elements to each congregation. We could talk all day about differences of programs, worship styles, and demographics. Just think about WHERE the Church meets for a minute… store fronts, movie theaters, high school auditoriums or gymnasiums, and of course the traditional street corner.
The Church’s diversity is not just in its locations but also in denominations. We’re not Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics or Lutherans… we’re Christians! No church has the “corner on the market” when it comes to God and being His light to this world.
Each Christ-following church serves a beautiful role in God’s plan. Each may sing, teach and reach in different styles, but God is at the center of it all.
Paul compares the human body to the Church in 1COR 12. He says there are lots of parts but one body. He says each part is just another gift to be received. This is where we get the phrase “body of Christ.” Church Anywhere But Here is an opportunity to remind all Christians everywhere, we are one, thanks to what God has done through Jesus Christ.
I believe it would be a mistake to think that what the church was in the past is what God is calling the Church to be today. It may be that God is calling us to new forms of faithfulness that our past “institutions” could never accomplish. Today we see old ways of being the Church running their course. A new generation is expressing the truth of the Bible …and yet still following the same Holy Spirit.
For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.
— EPHESIANS 4:4-6
This is foundational – everyone who has communion with Jesus is having communion with everyone else who is having communion with Jesus… that’s what makes us one family!
This is why we do Church Anywhere But Here… we are “breaking bread” and worshipping with the congregation down the street… we’re gathering with the Church of Santa Clarita! We’re celebrating with one another next week; we’re building up a sense of family. This is not to give the staff a break or some sort of free-day-pass for “No church on July 10th!” (actually it’s exactly the opposite!) We’re celebrating our differences as the Church!
The Bible says we, as Christians are all different, with different expressions! There is one creation, which is totally diverse. There is one body, which is made up of different members. The Bible starts with unity and celebrates the diversity within it. We don’t start with diversity and try to figure out how to unite it all. Like families, we have different traditions that are complementary to one another and interrelated.
So pick a congregation, take your bibles, your kids, your offerings, and worship with the Church. I encourage you, go somewhere unfamiliar; where you’ve never been, and celebrate Jesus!
By the way, if you’re intimidated to go by yourself… DON’T!!! …find somebody to go with!
On July 17th (the following Sunday) we will be collecting the bulletins from the churches we have visited and praying for each of those congregations! In doing so, we are reminded that we are not competing with other Christ-following gatherings, but joining with them to reach as many people with God’s transforming love as possible!
So get out there and show your commitment to the Church by meeting with the Church and celebrating with the Church… let’s BE the Church!
- Pastor Marty