As I’ve said several times, I believe that the church is God’s people gathered together. In the New Testament, the term translated “church” is never used to refer to a building, or an organization, or even a certain event/meeting.
But, since I think the term refers to God’s people gathered together (and not to us individually), then the term necessitates some type of “meeting” in the sense of two or more being together in the same place at the same time. However, and unfortunately, Christians often focus on one type of meeting or one specific meeting when they think about the church. This meeting is even given a special name, such as “the worship service.”
Over the last few days, I’ve had a short discussion on this topic on an older post with a reader named Greg. I thought that Greg’s points were too good to leave in the comments of that old post, so I’m going to copy them (and my responses) here:
Greg: I find it interesting and puzzling why there is so much emphasis on meetings today. I am much more interested in how we live our daily lives in our homes, at work recreationally and in community. Our daily regimen and lives together outside of meetings flow along without self conscious behavior and adherence to scripts then when it comes time to have a meeting we turn into wooden soldiers.
They have taken on an incredible amount of importance with serious discussion about how they should go and how often we should meet and who should be in charge and what we should do. But they reveal very let little about the real us, and even less about God. The disconnect between meetings and the lives of the believers is a serious concern to me. I suspect that’s why the scriptures don’t spill very much ink about meetings but are filled with the stuff of everyday life. if the church would like to see where they’re spirituality is let them fast from meetings for a year for all but the most important reasons to meet. I’m generalizing grossly here and covering all meetings with the same blanket and of course I don’t mean every meeting all the time everywhere. I am challenging the notion that meeting should be held simply because it’s time to have a meeting. if even a small percentage of the time that we collectively spend in meetings were redistributed and spent with one anothering.
Alan: I’m not puzzled at the emphasis on brothers and sisters meeting together. I am puzzled at the emphasis on certain types of meetings. I think it should be normal and natural for us to get together with other people who are following Jesus Christ. But, I don’t think it’s normal and natural for us to get together the way many church organizations dictate.
Greg: I guess I dont really know much about different kinds of meetings as I have only ever been with one group of people, though we went thru quite a metamorphosis from what might be called organic to self conscious.
Our meetings were not structured, and could morph into any one of several topics, go short or long and not happen again for days or weeks followed by one every day if the need arose.
Maybe it will help to explain my puzzlement by saying that I suspect that if we all had closer daily interaction, like family, meetings would not be such a big deal.
Alan: Those “closer daily interaction” meetings are exactly what we need.
When you think about gathering (meeting) with the church, do you think of a specific meeting or type of meeting, or do you think about any time you are with other brothers and sisters in Christ?