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Which one was church?

Posted by on Mar 28, 2011 in church life, definition, discipline, edification | 7 comments

Which one was church?

Last Friday evening, some friends invited us to their house. Another family joined our two families. We had dessert (cookies, brownies, cheesecake) and talked about our week and what had been going on in our lives.

Saturday evening, we invited some new friends and an old friend who was in town for the day to dinner. We went to one of our family’s favorite restaurants, which happens to be a Thai restaurant. Again, we talked about life in general. Since the new friends had recently moved into town, we talked with them alot about their move and getting adjusted to their new situation.

On Sunday morning, our family joined several other families in a place we rent specifically for meeting together. We sang some songs. We discussed Scripture. We prayed for one another. We ate lunch together. (Our family had meatball subs provided by another family.) We talked about life and the struggles that we’ve been going through.

Which of those meetings was church?

None of them. The church is not a meeting. But, in each case, believers were gathered together, so the church of Jesus Christ was present.

Did we act like the church should act in each case? That’s a different question. We were the church, and so we should seek to build each other up whenever we meet together. This is true for an impromptu gathering of friends in a house or restaurant (or park or beach or anywhere else). It is also true for a planned gathering.

In each case, we were able to get to know one another better and help one another with our walk with Christ.


7 Comments

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  1. 3-28-2011

    Alan,

    Hear! Hear!

  2. 3-29-2011

    “Which of those meetings was church? None of them. The church is not a meeting. But, in each case, believers were gathered together, so the church of Jesus Christ was present.”

    That is exactly the point. Church is not a meeting. It is believers gathered together in his name. Most of us have a meeting mentality of church, but meating as you describe above is closer to what I believe is more the idea of church.

  3. 3-29-2011

    very good — both types of gatherings are essential, right?

    planned meetings for focused scriptural study?
    impromptu family life gatherings to love on each other and get to know each other?

    but of course — both things happen at both types sometimes.

  4. 3-29-2011

    Aussie John,

    Thanks again.

    Guy,

    “It is believers gathered together in his name.” Yes, exactly.

    Randi,

    The best way to meet together (in my opinion) is when there is the possibility of both family life and discussion of Scripture (either on a planned or impromptu basis).

    -Alan

  5. 3-30-2011

    Good post, Alan. What’s interesting is that here in the Northwest the gatherings you describe above would be considered Church. I tend to agree with your views and conclusions; I only aim to raise a simple observation of how divergent the thinking is when it comes to ecclessiology. I grew up in the South, and attended Southeastern for a season. The Pacific Northwest is an entirely different context.

  6. 3-31-2011

    James,

    That’s very encouraging to hear! Thank you.

    -Alan

  7. 4-8-2011

    Alan,

    If we are sharing life with other believers, then it all “is church,” I would argue. In reality, church is never where you “go” as much as it is what you “do.” If there is two or more gathered, and assuming you all still have a pulse, then that is a church gathering.

    Form and content can often be very different. Sometimes it is a more spiritual looking gathering (Bible study, etc.), whereas other times it is simply over coffee discussing “their move and getting adjusted to their new situation.” Either way, it is all fellowship and it is all the church. Why? Because the church is, among other things, LIFE.

    Blessings on you and yours.

    Your brother (and new friend),
    Will

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  1. Comment Highlights for Week of March 27, 2011 | The Assembling of the Church - [...] finally, James left this encouraging comment on my post “Which one was church?” Good post, Alan. What’s interesting is …