What is church? Buildings or people? What do you think?

What is church? Buildings or people? What do you think? First, what does church mean to you as a person? Second, do you know what the Bible says about church? If the two answers are different, does that matter to you? Why or why not?

The adjacent image has a building with some people in the building. There’s a Christian service going on.

Which part of that is “church”?

Is it the building?
Or is it the people?

Or does it take both of them together, for instance, the people inside the building, to make it church?

Whichever you chose, think about why. Is it just your first reaction? Is it what you want it to be? Or is there something you can point to in the Bible to explain why you chose (1) the building, (2) the people, or (3) both the building and the people together?

Or maybe you came up with something else?

Let’s take a look at a survey done by the Barna Group. It’s from a chapter titled, Here Is the Church, Here Is the Steeple, which is part of their report Making Space For Community.

What if there’s no church building?

In the early days of the Church, there were no church buildings. Followers of Jesus, for good reason, didn’t have special buildings to hold their services. Safety was one huge reason.

The Jewish people hated Christians. The Roman government used to kill Christians. One emperor used to hang them on posts, set them on fire at night, and use them as “streetlights”. Having an individual building identifying them as Christian churches just wasn’t a good idea.

In North Korea, Christians go to even more extreme lengths. They gather in rickety old fishing boats in the ocean. Remember, North Korea can get extremely cold in the winter. Would you go to “church” in a boat, out in the ocean, when it’s freezing cold? Oh yeah – and risking your life the whole time?

Some people are willing to meet in very uncomfortable places to worship God. And, they’re willing to risk their lives as well.

In other countries, like so-called civilized Western countries, including my home of the U.S., too many of us won’t even meet online in order to help protect the health of at-risk members of our church, or of our own family members.

I wonder, what would happen in our “civilized” countries if we were in situations like China and Korea?

Church and church in The End Times

Do you remember The End Times? Armageddon? The end of the world, as we know it?

According to the Bible, the things in Revelation and other books with descriptions of the End Times will happen all over the world. So, unless a country is wiped off the face of the earth before the following event, it will come to all the so-called civilized countries whose Christians don’t want to go to church without their fancy air-conditioned/heated building with all the latest amenities.

Conclusion – What is church? Buildings or people? What do you think?

So what is church to you? Is going to church about having a nice building? Or is going to church about the people? And even though we didn’t get into it here, is the people part about socializing with other Christians, or is it about helping each other draw closer to Jesus?

How important is your church building now?

Now that you’ve read all that, is your church building still important to you? Or do you realize that the capital-C Church, the people who follow Jesus also know that our bodies are a temple, and it’s the people that are important – not where we meet?

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