It was a question that was asked of me a few months ago … who is the church for? Christians or Non-Christians. Did Jesus create the church so we could gather away from the world and be protected or did he create it as a force to spread the Gospel? There are very differing views of this but I want to challenge you on a few things:
The church is Not a Building.
Sure we’ve heard this before but do we really believe it? The church is a body; a gathering of believers. When we acquire buildings, we often relegate our “practices” to that locale. Instead, we should remember that we carry the Spirit of Christ with us wherever we go. We don’t need pews, a drum set, an overhead, and a nursery to have church. Church can be “where two or more are gathered.”
The church was Created by Christ to fulfill the mission of Christ.
Jesus was pretty clear that he had come to proclaim the Kingdom of God to those who were far from it. He came to “seek and save the lost” and on his least day on earth, he commissioned his followers to go and do the same. The followers of Christ are exactly that, followers …. They go where he went and do what he did. They deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow.
The church is the Hope of the World.
The church represents Jesus Christ. He promises salvation to all those who seek him. He promises life and life abundantly to those who would receive him. The church should represent these same things. When a non-Christian thinks of the church, do they think of hope? Do they think of love? Do they think of acceptance? If the answer to any of those is “probably not”, then we have a representation issue. We haven’t represented Christ well. When the world looks at the church they should see hope and love in action.
So who is the church for? If we perceive it’s for us Christians then we will continue to ignore the rest of the world. We will give platitudes to the idea of “reaching the lost” but everything we do in the church will continue to be just for us insiders.