Jesus said “I will build my Church”…
A promise of Christ.
Yet this promise isn’t a promise to keep open every religious building we’ve erected over the past 2000 years…
The Church Jesus is referring too is not a building, institution or denomination but rather it is the community of the people who follow Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
Being Church is about following Christ in community with his people, so when people stop following where Christ is leading, is it still a Church? -Interesting Church is about following Christ when much within it (architecturally especially is pretty immovable).
Do we want to be Churchy with out the following Jesus bit? -Especially when Jesus says that following him involves carrying ones cross?
Christ has kept his promise, although in some areas and parts of the world the Church has ebbed other parts have seen the Church grow and thrive.
God is the missionary God who pursues his people and yet chooses to give us the privilege to work in partnership with people.
Sadly his people don’t always want to partner with God, want to stay still rather than follow him.
When we walk and work with God, who know at our best who we are and are at our most fulfilled in our existance (as we are doing what we were created for!)
When Churches sink that often is due to them not understanding who they are and why they exist.
The early Church didn’t own buildings, instead they met in peoples homes, the Church referred to in the New Testament was the community of Christians based in a city.
A unified group around Christ.
The Church exists for Christ.
The Church exists for those who don’t yet know Christ.
Who don’t ‘own’ the Church, it belongs to Christ not us.
I remember a friend Mark saying that he was once told “if we don’t get some money into this Church it will close” to which he replied “if we don’t tell people about Jesus they will be going to hell!”
No one wants to see buildings once used for Christian worship empty, but have a responsibility to make sure we are doing what we should be doing in them,
Are we still following Jesus where-ever he leads?
Are we still proclaiming his Gospel? Are we still making him known?
Are still growing disciples that are Christ like?
Our buildings and resources are valuable tools and wonderful assets in making Christ known and growing disciples, but sometimes our buildings, institutions and denominations almost become a little idolatrous.
We talk about keeping the Church open (thinking of a building) a better phrase is talking about keeping the Church ALIVE, it’s a community you are part of not a venue you attend. I remember the phrase that said “don’t just go to Church, but rather, BE the Church”.
In talking about the living body of Christ locally needs more than just our pocket change, it needs us to fall to our knees and seek him, it needs us to follow where he leads, open our lives to those around us as share Jesus by what we say and we do.
I think that Church we need to take seriously the stewarding of our resources in a righteous and Godly manner.
Just as a faithful workman maintains his tools so we must maintain the blessing God has given us with wisdom and responsibility, but lets not elevate this resources to a point and place they were never intended to be.
The Church, the Bride and Body of Christ, is more than just the building your local fellowship happens to occupy, let us lift our eyes to the bigger and more beautiful vision where Christ is calling us, beckoning us to join with him in his mission in his world.