Here Is the Church…
As a young child, I learned a rhyme that went like this: “Here is the church. Here is the steeple. Open the doors, and see all the people.” There were hand gestures to go along with it. The backs of the hands made the church, the index fingers went straight up to be the steeple, the thumbs were the door, and the other fingers, we would wiggle to be the people.
Today, I say a different rhyme that goes like this: “Here is the building. Here is the steeple. Open the doors, but where are all the people? They are sharing the gospel, haven’t you heard? Being the church as they live out His Word.” These hand gestures include the fingers being on the outside of the building. So, when you move the thumbs, you don’t see any people—the point being that the church is not a building. The people are the church.
But what does it mean to be the church? We can’t accidentally become the church we’re called to be. We must act with intentional innovation. So, here are 4 ways to be the deliberate, considerate church.
Where Are the People?
When we are out in the community living out our week (as opposed to congregating only on our church campus), then the church in its very essence scatters into the community. Have you ever considered that you are the church every day as you live, work, and play? In 2 Corinthians 3:3, Paul describes us as “letters from Christ.” Consider what your words and actions say to those around you about Christ’s character. How do you walk through the doors of the grocery store, work, gym, or even your own home? Do you do walk as a letter from Christ addressed to those around you?
As the church, we must be ready to be the church outside the building. But how does that look? In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Paul tells us how, with both passion and discipline, we should use every method at our disposal to share the gospel. We can be as motivated as Paul was in his belief that the gospel is for everyone.
As the church body, we act on purpose for a purpose.
How Can We Be the Church?
In other words, Christ calls us to bring many to Him and to help others know Him, that they would become who they are meant to be in Him. Our methods change and adapt with the culture, but the message of the gospel always remains the same. We can and should make accommodations both socially and personally to build relationships without compromising the gospel.
Here are some steps we can take to act on purpose for His purposes:
1. Be Prepared.
Being prepared to be the church all week long means that intentionality is essential. We gather for worship in order to experience true refreshment and fuel for the week ahead. We engage in groups to be equipped and to share our experiences throughout the week. More personally, we take part in quiet times where we practice our spiritual disciplines. Globally and locally, going is our method for living out the mission of Christ as we love all whom we meet along our journeys.
To be sure to not compromise the gospel, it is essential for us to know the gospel. To share our personal testimonies, we need to be prepared to communicate our stories. All of this takes preparation and intentionality.
2. Be Aware.
Being aware of what is happening in our culture and seeing all things through a gospel lens helps us to think of creative ways to connect and communicate with our neighbors. Paul was willing to adapt to his environment while still holding strong to the gospel. We can follow his example of being willing to learn while being in the culture, as we continue to hold our focus on what really matters.
For example, when we see how social media platforms communicate differing pictures of people and their opinions, we don’t have to shy away. Instead, we can choose to engage in a way that honors God. Knowing that each post and every photo has the potential for us to be ambassadors for Christ can help us navigate the online world with awareness and intentionality.
3. Be Strategic.
Being intentional in how we are good stewards of our talents, treasures, time, and testimonies means taking time to examine each and every aspect of our lives. God wants to be a part of everything we do, and He has created us for a kingdom-building purpose. We can use our skills and hobbies for His glory.
For example, a woman at our Harpeth Heights campus who enjoys crocheting and quilting has used that passion and talent to make prayer shawls, blankets for the sick, and quilts for terminally-ill patients. She prays for each person who will receive her items as she creates them and uses her time and talents to love her neighbors in need.
All we have is a gift from God, and when we view our talents, treasures, time, and testimonies through this truth, we can be confident that He can use all He has given us in order for us to be His church.
4. Be Dependent.
It seems really simple, but the truth is that we cannot be the church by ourselves. We must lean into God and depend on His direction. We can ask Him to open our eyes and show us creative ways to share His gospel with others. Listening is key to depending on His guidance.
Doing what we can as a church to be the church He has called us to be, His Word and ways are evident to those around us. Being prepared, aware, strategic, and dependent on God all are steps we can take to be more intentionally innovative. These are 4 ways to be the deliberate, considerate church that Christ has called us to be.
What step will you take today to share the gospel in new, creative, and innovative ways?