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We don't go to church. We are the church.

we dont go to church jul. 5th
6 July 2023

I was having an interesting conversation with someone the other day who was rather taken aback when told, in answer to another question, “I am a pastor.” After a rather shocked look they asked what church was all about anyway. At which point I did what any pastor would do and posed another question back? What do you mean by church?

“You know, why go to church on a Sunday. What do you all do?

“Oh,” I said, “why does the church gather together? Before I answer that question, you need to know what the church is.”

All of you will know that the church is the people. Not the building. We might refer to the building where the church gathers as a ‘church’, but that name is given by association with us, the church, not the other way around. We have the rich imagery given to us by Paul in 1 Corinthians, of all believers being different parts of the one body, bound together by the spirit under the headship which is Christ. Therefore, we understand that we, the church, are the body of Christ Jesus. 

Paraphrased, I answered the question like this: the church is a group of people who have chosen to gather in community together.  What we share in common is the experience of finding hope and meaning in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. And because we are a community of people, in fact, lots of different communities of lots of different people, we will all do things differently.  We are informed, moulded and influenced by the people who make up our gatherings, so each community is going to do things slightly differently. And how each community does things will change over time too. But we are always focusing on Jesus and how He calls us into doing life with Him.

We had a great discussion about church being the people. I hope I get to talk to them next week about why we gather. Might be another paper plane piece……..

What is the church? How would you have answered?


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144 Sawyers Arms Road
Christchurch, New Zealand

+64 3 352 4227

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