A few weeks ago, the church service kicked off with a discussion question: “What is Church?” We broke into small groups with those sitting around us. After exchanging introductions (why hadn’t we already done this?), we stared in silence. As a visitor, I didn’t want to go first, but the silence invited me. “I’ve thought about this a lot,” I said as I marshaled my words. “I think church is about community.”
I paused, waiting for more of my deliberations to form into cogent words, but they didn’t. Others nodded and voiced their thoughts. Before I had a chance to add more, the discussion time ended prematurely.
The groups’ dialogue formed the introduction to the message. I anticipated what the speaker would add to the topic. Alas, his words were of little substance. I left the service, warmed by the bits of community we shared, but with no additional clarity on the question.
A few years ago, I answered the question, What is Church? in a blog post. My answer then is what it is now:
“Church isn’t about message or music; those are often distractions or settling for less than the best. True church is about community, where we are all priests, with each one giving and receiving, mutually edifying and encouraging one another on our faith journey.”
Please think about this as you attend church today. And it you don’t go to church, I encourage you to seek ways to do this anyway – and that will be your church, not as a substitute, but perhaps as a superior alternative.