We all say it: “Let’s meet at the church.” Somewhere along the way we began referring to “the building where the church meets” as “the church.”
The early church started meeting in homes and in the temple court in Jerusalem (Acts 2:46). But today, the church convenes in a variety of locations. Some congregations meet in converted storefronts while others assemble in beautiful buildings.
But they all serve the same purpose: They are a place for us to gather and worship the Lord.
Hopefully all Christian congregations will remember that the building is not “the” church. The first-century church proved beyond a doubt that buildings are not necessary for the church to grow and prosper and change the world.
Are buildings convenient? Yes. They provide a central place for the true church of Jesus Christ to meet for worship, instruction, celebration and ministry. Just as it’s nice to have a home in which to invite friends, so a church building should serve as a “home” to the community.
Church membership: An option or not?
Far too many Christians have decided that church affiliation is optional. That is not a biblical idea, but a worldly one. And it parallels the lack of commitment seen in other areas of life today.
Christians have confused going to a church building with being a member of a church. Granted, many churches today don’t keep a formal membership roll. But in any church it’s easy to see who the committed members are: They are the ones who are doing the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12).
Those who simply “go to church” on Sunday mornings may be participating in worship and in giving, but they are living on the edge of church membership by not getting intimately involved in the life of the church they attend church. The New Testament describes the necessity for every true Christian to be a healthy, contributing part of a local gathering of believers.
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Source: Baptist Press