Josh McCullough, Stonepoint Member
And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful. Titus 3:14 ESV
There’s a song that has popped up recently on the Christian charts called Church (Take Me Back) by Cochren & Co. At its heart the song has a good message. It is about a guy that grew up in church, but strayed into the pleasures of the world (very Prodigal Son-esque). He is wanting (almost begging) for someone to take him back to church.
He equates church to a physical place, full of people, with preaching and singing.
When done for the right reason, and with the right heart, there’s nothing wrong with this definition of church. After all, Jesus himself said ‘For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.’ Matthew 18:20 ESV
Meeting at a location we call church can be a renewing of spirit for believers. I’ll be among the first to admit that I look forward to Sunday mornings. There is something comforting about it, as stated in the song. Being with a group of similarly minded people, sharing in worship for a couple of hours each week.
But even the ‘unchurched’ do that. Sporting events, gyms, restaurants, movie theaters, and even theme parks are full of like minded people spending time on a recurring basis, praising (worshiping) something.
So how are we as church goers any different?
The short answer is “we’re not.” Not if we are simply church goers.
We must instead be church doers. As Brandon, Brian and the rest of the Stonepoint Staff have said multiple times the place the world calls a ‘church’ is just a building. The only thing special about the building is the people inside.
The people are the church.
Need proof? Look in your Bible. The book of Acts is full of stories of Christ followers meeting in homes and secret locations, sometimes even hidden in fields, because they had to keep moving or risk persecution. Yet they were still called the church.
On Memorial Day weekend, we as a body participated in what is now called Mission Van Zandt (formerly Stonepoint Serves.) It is a yearly chance for us, along with other bodies of believers, to put this into action. To go out without expecting a return, no strings attached, and ‘Be The Church’ in our communities.
We go out and and clean trash from parks, do yard work and clean up for the elderly or infirm, and occasionally tackle even bigger projects, like re-roofing a house or building a fence.
But again, even the ‘unchurched’ do this. They, too, will take a day or a weekend and clean up trash (Earth Day) or give money to the poor.
So what makes us as the church different?
Back in 1995 DC Talk released their album Jesus Freak. The title song on that album became, and still is, immensely popular. And it’s a good song, but it’s just one piece of an excellent album. I had the album on cassette and repeatedly listened to the whole thing start to finish.
The song right after Jesus Freak is called What if I Stumble (if you’ve never listened to it I encourage you to do so.) It opens with a spoken quote by Brennan Manning.
“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”
This is where we have to be different. Don’t just ‘Be The Church’ one day a year and go on living worldly the rest of the time.
We need to instead ‘Live The Church’ everyday.
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47 ESV)
(Interestingly enough the next track on the Jesus Freak album is called Day by Day.)
So, instead of waiting for the broken to want to be taken back to church like in the Cochren & Co song, we should be taking the church to the broken everyday.