01 Aug What is a church about? – Aug 15
What is a church about?
By Ferdinand Haratua
“What is a church?” may seem like a straightforward question, especially to those who attend church regularly. But you may be surprised to see quite few different answers to this question. And there have been many blogs and books written trying to answer this simple question.
To some people, a church is simply a place or a building where Christians gather to worship, or if it were a particularly beautiful and grand building, then it would also become a place where tourists pay to visit. While to others, a church is a group of so-called Christians who meet regularly and do what Christians do together, for examples, sing, pray, listen to sermon being preached, and so on.
Today, there are many churches, ours included, who have not yet have a permanent church building. So, we can probably say that a church cannot simply be just a physical building.
If a church is not just a mere building, then a church must be a church because of its people. The building can be a classroom, a theatre, or even a pub maybe. The word “church” itself comes from a Greek word that literally means a gathering of people. But it also cannot be just any random people gathering in a random place doing random things. For example, we can never refer a group of university students who gather regularly in a classroom listening to lectures on Biology, as a church.
There are a few things that make a church, a church. The Bible does not give us a plain definition for a church, but it does give us clues and examples of what church should be.
The Bible says that Jesus is the cornerstone of the church; therefore, a church must be about Jesus, not just during the singing time or the sermon, but also in everything that believers do. When money is being put into the offering, it must be about Jesus, not a guilt offering or an investment for a hundredfold return. When the poor, the hungry and the lonely are being provided, fed and welcomed into the church family, it must be about Jesus, not about social justice or community service.
Another thing that we can see from the early churches found in the Bible is that church is a family of believers. This is why Jesus said, “There is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” If we believe what Jesus said, then we will love our church family, because they are not just our family in this life, but for eternity.