I heard a preacher say just recently as he was speaking in a bigger church building and talking about the old smaller building they used to meet in…."how did we ever DO church there?”
I know it was just a throw-away line, but I got stuck on it. Language is a powerful thing and I couldn't help but ask, “Is it even Biblical to DO Church?” In fact is it even Biblical to “GO to church?”
I know in some ways you might feel it is petty arguing over semantics, but it brings me back to the way we define church? We must be challenged to keep coming back to the Bible and aligning ourselves consistently to HIS truth.
Our definition of the church helps us to understand if we are called to DO church or even GO to church.
When I looked up the Oxford Dictionary’s definition of the Church, I was shocked. It said “a building used for public Christian Worship.” So here lies our problem. We have let the world conform us instead of the consistent renewing of our mind from God. This would be the first thing that rolls off all our tongues when asked “What church do we GO to?” or “Where do you DO church?” The most common answer is to state a building or a denomination.
Again, you may say I am arguing over simple semantics. We all know what we really mean, but do we? There is something we have seriously lost when the world believes that the “church” is a building and when Christians believe that to “DO” church is to go to one Sunday meeting a week. We need to recognise when our language is not helping our own faith walk as well as the “light” we are called to be to the world. The word “church” in the Greek is ekklesia, which simply means “called out people.” The church is His people, the body of Christ (Eph 4:4, 1 Cor 12:12, Col 1:18). We are called to be His Temple here on earth (1 Peter 2:4-8), living stones to be built up as a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5), with Jesus as a cornerstone (Eph 2:19-22). We are His bride (Acts 20:28, Eph 5:25), the one He gave Himself for, that He might present Her to Himself a glorious Church, holy and without blemish. Christ doesn't have a harem of all different churches that we can choose to GO to. He has ONE church; His church, his bride, a called out people, called to be HIs light in the world (1 Peter 2:9, John 1:4).
So, I ask again is it Biblical to DO church, or is the Church called to DO? It is Biblical to GO to church, or is the Church called to GO?
I believe our language, as subtle as it is, has confused things over the years. It has caused us to change, or I would say at times, lose focus of what we as the CHURCH are called to do, challenged to be, what our daily life must look like and what it means to BE the church to a world that is lost. I am not saying that we are not called to gather together and build each other up as the Body of Christ because, being together as ONE body is vital to be a strength in this world. (Hebrews 10:25). We are limiting God’s plan when the definition of “Church" for many Christians is ONLY “a building used for public Christian Worship” (Oxford Dictionary). We are limiting God’s truth when we simply talk of GOing to Church or DOing Church rather than BEing the Church in the world.
When we really seek the Biblical truth and it gets into our heart, it has the potential to change everything. As God renews and transforms our minds to His truth, what would it change for you to change your language to … being a “called out people" who GO and DO as the Church in this world. Is that more a biblical view of the “Church”? How would that change what you DO and where you GO today?
For me it changes everything. Church is not where I GO or what I DO. I am the Church, wherever I am, whether two or more are gathered. I long to be a light in the world that shines towards Christ, in my marriage, my parenting, my friendship, when I walk along the road, when I go to the shops, in the way I spend my time, my gifts and my resources, when I post on social media, when I sleep and when I wake and even when no-one sees me. I am a “called out person” desiring to be His light to a hurting world.
By Tammy Tolman