Painting pictures

We’ve had a number of discussions amongst our team about how one ‘does’ church? It’s a tricky question to answer because it’s often not the right question.

What we mean of course is ‘what do we do?’ and perhaps more accurately ‘what do our meetings look like?’ As I’ve reflected on that I was reminded that how the church gathers, and what the church does when it gathers paints a picture for people of what the church is and then from there to who God is.

The church is the body of Christ and so just as Jesus shows us what God is like (Col 1:15), so the church should show the world what Christ is like (1 Tim 3:15).

Some churches I’ve been in the word ‘dead’ or at least ‘nearly dead’ would have been accurate. In others I’d think of ‘community’ or maybe ‘professional’. For me, what I think is often dictated by the worship or the preaching or a combination of both but most of the time I’d get stuck there. When a guest is with your church for the first time and they watch what happens and see all that takes place, what words do you think they would use to describe ‘church’?

For those of us who want a church shaped by what we read in the Bible, this reflection can perhaps be a little uncomfortable, a nagging disconnect between what we think we read and what we know we see each week.

Right now the word I hope would describe what we do as a church  as ‘family’, which is I think a good word to use. It helps that we meet in a home, that we centre much of what we do around the dining table and that collectively we’re asking the church to input into the faith of our children. We’ve got lots to learn and get better at and grow up with, just like families do.

The question to ask is, how, as we grow, can we hold on to that sense of family? It’s not just a ‘do’ question, it’s both ‘being and doing’. Family isn’t the only picture the New Testament paints of the church, but it is a big one so we want that and to add other dimensions to how the church presents Jesus to the world.

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