In today's society there are numerous types of churches and numerous different styles of 'having church'. So the question is: What does the Bible say about church? How does the Bible show us to 'have church'? Is what we are doing Biblical? This question is way too big to answer in one blog post but I want to hit a few key points here.
"4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another." Romans 12:4-5
The first Biblical principle often lost in today's church is that we are all one body. We use this language when we talk about the 'church body', but often we are only referring to our personal congregation. Paul is saying that the entire church is one body. It doesn't matter if you're Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Methodist, or even Catholic; if you believe that Jesus Christ is God, died for our sins, rose from the dead, is the only way to heaven and you have accepted Him as such then you are a part of the universal body of Christ. We need to start understanding this and acting like it is true. It is great to have a local congregation that you meet with regularly but the body does not stop there. We need to realize that the Christians in your workplace, school, neighborhood, local shopping market, etc. are all just as much a part of your church family as the ones you sit next to every Sunday. We are living together and working towards the same goal; building the Kingdom of Heaven on this earth. Encourage each other, strengthen each other, and support each other.
Not Just Sunday:
"46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." Acts 2:46-47
As the church was beginning we see that they were meeting together daily. They not only met in the temple, but they met in each others houses and they ate together, fellowshiped, praised God, and encouraged each other in doctrine. This wasn't done once or twice a week, it was done daily. For us church has become something we do on Sunday and maybe a few of us committed again midweek. Between services it is almost like we hide out in our own homes and our own family. Even when we do get together with friends we generally don't talk about God or about His Word. We preach about spreading the Word of God to unbelievers but we don't even bring up the Word of God with other believers. The Biblical church was discussing the Word of God daily, they were encouraging each other, praying with each other, and supporting each other every chance they got. They didn't wait for someone to be in great need to visit them but instead sought out opportunities to support them at all times. This is an important principle that we must return to today!
Place of Leadership:
"11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ," Ephesians 4:11
God has placed leadership in the church not to do the ministry, but to equip the saints to do the ministry. This is a revelation that has recently been returning to the church in knowledge, but not always in practice. Every Christian is called to the ministry and leadership is simply there to guide and equip. This is true whether you are a doctor, manager, merchant, or housewife; You are called to the ministry. You are called to preach the Gospel and to make disciples. The tools and gifts that God has given you in order to accomplish this task are probably quite different than mine, but the ultimate task is the same. We are all called to bring the kingdom of God on this earth. This is why these seven spheres of society are important to understand because chances are one person will not be called to all seven. Leaders in the church are called to make sure that Biblical principles are applied in the church and to equip their congregation to apply those same Biblical principles in whatever area of society God has placed them in.
This is not by any means an exhaustive list of what the Bible has to say about the church, but it is few important points that seem to be lost in today's church. If we can begin to understand where we are missing it as the church than we can return to the days of societal influence that once were. It is time for the church to stand up as one in the Americas and to represent the love, grace, truth, and righteousness of Jesus Christ our head.