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What the Church is Not

As a leader in a local church, I think about our congregation as well as the Church as a whole very frequently.  There are ideas, visions, dreams, needs, lacks, disappointments, frustrations, joys, testimonies, and the abundance of God’s presence.

Given all my thoughts and prayers for the Church, you’d think it would be easy to write about.  It’s not.

The Church is a mystery of God, the Body of Christ formed and fashioned and each uniquely made for His specific purpose.  The more you try to define and boil it down, the more it defies logic and definition. By God’s design, it is incredible and fascinating.

How could a rag-tag group of disciples carry a message of truth, hope, and life to the ends of the earth and that spiritual organism known as the Church survive through time, heresy, wars, famine, corruption, and so much more?

Every day I learn a little more or I’m reminded of who the Church is and what we are made to be, but instead of trying to define and label today, I thought I would share a few things that the Church is not (either the local congregation I get to serve or the wider Body as a whole).

By no means exhaustive, these are the first things that come to mind, but certainly leaders and congregations alike can get confused on these.

So here it goes, the Church is not…

  • A building
  • A social club
  • A business
  • A lucrative marketing base
  • A conduit for condemnation
  • Perfected yet

As a leader, I am reminded the Church is not:

  • My ministry
  • My source
  • My legacy
  • My self-esteem
  • My validation
  • An excuse to not take care of my family

Some days I do well with this, others illustrate my deficiency in the most obvious ways.

Despite my lack, this leads me to one of the most exciting statements of what the Church is not. Whether as a leader or a congregation member, I hope it encourages you and challenges you to hope and dream…

Because though we are not perfect and we often don’t know exactly what we’re doing, the Church is not finished.

God has had a plan of redemption and it always included the Church.

It’s more than community by proximity and meeting together.  It is more than simply shared goals, vision, and ideals–there is something divine and altogether beautiful about these living stones coming together, accomplishing the will of God.

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.  –Ephesians 3:10-11

He will accomplish this; He has not changed His mind. And yes, that’s amazing!

What do you think? Have anything to add to what the Church is not?

6 Comments

  1. I’m sure you have heard the old statement “The church is a hospital for sinners, not a rest home for saints.” I like what you have included here Jason. I’m convinced God’s plan has always included the church. it was not an afterthought.
    Bill (cycleguy) recently posted..ChewMy Profile

    • For sure. And yeah, if He had abandoned the idea, it would’ve been gone a long time ago I’m sure! Thanks so much, Bill.

  2. I love your encouragement here, Jason, to look at the church, and our role in it, as part of God’s redemptive plan for everyone. Wow! Such an amazing perspective, and one that inspires me to think outside the church box.
    Blessings!

    • It’s so close to His heart! I know for me, I can get so wrapped up in the individuality of it all (which is a cultural thing of course), but when you see from His perspective of a universal Church, it’s something humbling and awe-inspiring how He fashions it all together. Amazing. Thank you, Martha. Blessings to you!

  3. The church is not a place we go to every Sunday. It is not a routine. The church is Gods bride. WE are the church. People put this label on church that its the place to go when you’ve done wrong. Church is myself and other God lovers.This is an amazing message ! Thanks Jason may Jesus bless you!

    • So true. We can treat it as a chore or we can see it as the beautiful reality God designed it to be. It’s a joy to see how we function in and form the Body. Thanks Jaylynn!

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