Friday, March 23, 2007

What Is a Church?

Lately I've been asking myself the question, "What is church?" As a pastor, you'd think I know. Well, I do have some ideas, but lately I've been reexamining the question.

Mark D. Roberts has an interesting series on his blog entitled, "What is a church?" In part 5 of an exhaustive 15 part series, Roberts interacts with answers to the question, "The church is like..."

A church is like a concert, but it's better to see a worship service as a concert in which God is the audience and the worshippers are they performers, turning the concert imagery upside down.

A church is like a school, but a church offers much more than religious and moral education. It seeks to transform people's hearts and lives, not just to educate their minds. And it seeks for join people together in life-changing community.

A church is like a club, but unlike most clubs, membership isn't a privilege, but a gift, and non-members are welcome to participate in virtually every aspect of "club" life. A church, unlike a club, exists not just for its members, but especially for its non-members.

A church is like a store, but it ought to do far more than offer "products" for consumption. A church will thrive only if its members are committed to the church in a way far beyond consumer loyalty.

A church is like a hospital in that it offers healing to those who are spiritually sick, just like Jesus did. But a church is not like a hospital because it seeks, not only to get "patients" well, but also to enlist them on the caring team. When you go to a hospital, you're not expected to become a doctor or a nurse. When you got to a church, you should join the care-giving team as well as receive care.

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