In a time when “going to Church” has become challenging in many places, perhaps it’s the perfect opportunity to revisit why we “go” to church anyway. The Church Jesus established was in the hearts of His followers. Jesus didn’t instruct us to go to church; He told us to be the Church. How are we doing with that?
Looking around my Country I see levels of hate, distrust, and violence unprecedented in my lifetime. I can’t help but feel we are squandering a massive opportunity to reach a hurting world with the love of Jesus. Many of the churches in my area have gone strangely quiet. There have thankfully been a few exceptions, but mostly, it feels as if the church has gone underground.
As I’ve streamed the services of several churches, many seem focused on what they are doing to facilitate re-gathering. They are putting great energy into that moment and are planning grand celebrations. I understand the fact people are missing in-person fellowship with their friends and fellow believers. But since when did that become the focus of the gospel? Jesus told His disciples to go into all the world. The early church did not see explosive growth until it began to scatter to the neighboring towns and villages. If they would have stayed content with their gathering in Jerusalem, you and I would probably have never heard the name of Jesus.
The uncertainty in the world has driven many to despair. Isolation, job loss, and fear of the future are pushing many to the brink. Has there ever been a greater need for the peace, hope, and love of Jesus? It’s been encouraging to see many churches reaching out to their communities with needed food and financial help. It’s beautiful seeing the Church care for the needs of others. Showing the love of Jesus in unselfish ways can lead to deeper discussions of faith with those who might otherwise be unwilling to hear about Jesus. This is our opportunity.
We don’t have to wait for the Church at large to create a program before we get involved. We all have neighbors to whom we can show kindness. Conducting our lives from a place of hope should encourage those lacking it to ask us why we are different. We must be ready for that moment, and we must share the greatest news in all of history. Jesus always has been the answer and the solution, and He is still that no matter what problems people may be facing. But how will people ever know unless we tell them (Romans 10:14)?
So, the job of the church is to be the Church. We don’t need to go anywhere for church to happen. As the bride of Christ, Church goes wherever we go. We should be more excited about being scattered than about re-gathering. Perhaps we too will see explosive growth in people coming to Christ through these fascinating days. Don’t let this moment pass you by. Don’t focus on the time you can regather with your faith fellowship. Focus on those who need what you have. We are the Church. Be the Church today.