How to Be the Church (when we can't go to church)
If I asked you what you think the church is, what would your answer be? Is it a building? A location for gathering, an institution? What if it's so much more?
We haven’t been able to gather as a church for a couple of months now, and that has been truly difficult for the body of Christ. There’s a reason we’re commanded in scripture to gather together (Hebrews 10:25) and encourage one another in prayer, thanksgiving and worship. There’s nothing like that connection in the presence of God to build us up and solidify our walk of faith.
In times like this, when we cannot gather, I’d like to suggest that we rethink our definition. Instead of simply categorizing “church” as a place we go to, what if we thought about becoming the church in our daily lives? Each one of us, a beautiful piece of the body of Christ, scattered around our cities, nation and the globe with intentionality and opportunity.
This is such a relevant time to to make a difference, embody the light we talk about and share the love we sing about. This is our opportunity to take the church outside of the four walls of a building and bring it to our families, our friends, grocery checkout lines, the sidewalks in our neighborhood and virtual video calls we're now a part of on a daily basis.
I can tell you that the enemy would hate it if we decided to move in this way. He would much rather have us freeze up, shut down and slow to a crawl in apathy. But love is an action and a verb. Kindness will make the difference in helping us move forward when negative emotions threaten to stop us in our tracks.
Now hear me out: I don't discount that emotions such as sadness, grief and fear are real things that we all run into during this season. There’s several blog posts we recently published that are helpful for honestly processing those emotions. (Go check ‘em out.) However, don't forget that our purpose for accepting and working through our pain is so that we can get moving again. We heal so that we can become powerful people once again and remember that we are sons and daughters carrying our Fathers love to the world.
I don’t know about you, but I get tired of focusing on myself so much all the time. If you’ve been feeling lost in a cycle of introspection or numbing out during this pandemic, let me recommend taking up a cause. Nothing snaps us out of a funk quicker than serving others and getting in tune with love. Don't miss out on this opportunity to show the world something different!
So how can you be the church today? Remember, YOU carry the power to drastically shift this experience for someone else.
If nothing immediately comes to mind, here are a few suggestions:
1. Offer to tutor or give virtual learning sessions to students you know who are home from school.
2. If you’re healthy and able, find out how to donate blood in your area.
3. Give money to someone you know is in need, or donate funds to a cause you feel led to support.
4. Check on your neighbors and friends, they could use some encouragement!
5. Donate coffee or meals to our medical personnel on the front lines who are working long hours.
6. Deliver groceries or meals for those who may not be able to go to the store, such as the elderly or immune-compromised.
7. Get out into your neighborhood for prayer walks and keep your eyes open along the way for how you can bless others in your area, for example: picking up trash or offering to mow someone's lawn.
I believe this is a chapter in which the church gets to shine. Not as an organization or institution, but as a family of believers that are bonded together in spirit and truth, taking the actionable love of God to one person at a time. I believe the world is going to ask “Who are you and what is the reason for the hope that you have?” And when they do, we will be prepared to invite them into Kingdom identity and the best family ever known to humankind.
Thank you for being the church. I bless you today with His perfect peace, hope beyond measure and love unending.