What is church?

I don’t write a lot of religiously charged pieces. Its just not my thing. I tend to keep my views on all things spiritual or religious to myself but last week I stepped out of my self imposed box a little bit. I gathered with a group of other youngish people to talk about a theological question. This week’s question just happened to “What is church?” and “What should it be?” Two very good questions which we did not actually answer. I hope my priest will forgive me for stealing her question. We ended up going down some other related rabbit holes, such as the fundamentalist rabbit hole (lets talk about what church shouldn’t be) and the how did we get the modern church rabbit hole. Both are good topics. Both are worth exploring. Neither left me feeling satisfied that we had explored the question. I’ve been turning it over in my head for a couple of days, and honestly I knew what the question would be beforehand so I have had time to really think it over.

What is church? Some say it is the building that we meet in on Sundays and throughout the week for the purpose of a religious service. I tend to disagree with that. Church is not a building. That is probably the CoC in me that feels strongly about that, but I do firmly believe that calling a building the church does the Church a disservice. Some think of church as a massive gathering of people all in one place to listen to a sermon, and socialize, and maybe as an after thought take communion. I tend to disagree with this as well. I think church is a community of believers. Where two or three are gathered and all that. This community of believers gather on the first day of the week for communion and form a sort of family. They help the poor, care for the sick and follow the teachings of Jesus. This group of people will put aside petty differences in the light of greater good. They will openly and wholeheartedly care for their fellow man. The church be something wonderful, something inspirational even. The church should be a place for spiritual renewal. When the world beats you down, as it so often does, the church is where you should be able to go to find the strength to get up and keep on fighting.

I sometimes forget that the church also has to be fun, but the young ones quickly remind me of that. When I asked a few kids last night what church was I got the best answers.

It’s God’s house.

Church is the place where Jesus lives.

The church is a place where people love one another.

The last answer is my favorite. So what is church to you? What is it supposed to be?


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