We talk about what the church is a lot. We talk about the church being “believers” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14). The church is made up of people who follow Christ. The local church is made up of people who follow Christ and come together to cooperate for ministry and growth.
Expressions of the local church have changed a lot since the days of Jesus. During various seasons of church history, house churches were the dominant model where there was no such thing as paid professional staff for the most part. At other points, massive churches where thousands of people gathered together have been popular particularly in history (megachurches are not a new concept).
Different expressions have lasted sometimes a few hundred years before undergoing a significant shift. We have lived in a time where a large shift has taken place. Churches that exist entirely online popped up a few years ago, I know of a church that exists on Twitch (if you don’t know what that is take a minute to look it up.) Other churches, though they maintained a predominantly physical existence, embraced cyberspace as a space in which the church could work.
Now, we are almost all entirely dependent on the internet, radio, and TV, especially for church services. And here lies the subject I want to discuss today. Most of my readers probably agree that the church is not a building but the people. Where we might have some debate is on what exactly we should “do” as the church. Too many people believe that the church service is “doing” church. I should say, too many people live like “doing” church is going to the church service.
The church service has continued fairly easily for us in our church online and on the radio. No, it’s not quite the same, but it can still happen. But that is not the extent of what the church should “do.” We’re at 3 weeks and counting, I know many of you are at 4 or 5 weeks, but my church is at 3. We’re going to hit at least 7 and likely more before we’re together again in the same room.
Next week, FBC Monahans is doing a drive up service, where you can at least see through your car windows the church service while you listen on the radio. But that still is the church service. And no matter the method (in person, in cars, or livestream) the church service is not the extent of what the church should be doing.
Find ways of keeping up with biblical community (Hebrews 3:13). Find ways of ministering to the least of these (Matthew 25:40). Find ways to bless your community (Jeremiah 29). Don’t just sit around and watch a worship service once a week. Find ways to continue the work of your local church.
If you’re tech savvy and you go to a smaller church, your pastor may need help livestreaming and setting up Zoom groups. If you’ve got older or high risk neighbors, they may need help with food and other essentials. Maybe you know of kids whose family is less than reliable, check on them. What can you do? We are still the church and the church is and always has been more than a worship service. We may not be in our building right now, but we are the church.