we are the {church}

12:53 Sarah Burton 0 Comments

i've finally started work this week, and although i'm technically working only at Battcock manor (a community for the elderly and disabled), i spent the better part of the week working at the youth center and i spent canada day helping run a booth at our town's Canada Day celebrations.

and over this past week, i've caught myself saying multiple times "why isn't the church doing this?", "why isn't the church involved in that?", "i think that the church should do something about that", etc.

i said it so much that my dad finally said "what church are you talking about???" 

and me being a sarcastic, slightly cynical, person replied "my fictional church that i'm going to build."

at first my automatic reply to my dad was just a snarky comment but then a couple hours later when we were waiting for the fireworks to start, it hit me.

why am i waiting for "the church" to do something about reaching out into the community while i sit around and do nothing?

i am the church. we are the church. the church is not a building, it is not made of bricks and mortar. it is made of people.

sure, it was kind of a throwaway comment, and i really didn't mean anything by it - when i said "the church" i was kind of implying that i would be involved, but i had no intentions to try and make my dreams into a reality.

the church was created not to be a building that sits on a parking lot with a cross on the roof. it was create as a group of people going out to reach the broken and to give them a new, abundant life. 

Jesus didn't say "upon this rock i will build my church" to Peter, and then start covering him in cement - he made a pun (petros in greek = rock, which is also peter, lols) and sent his disciples out to the people.

why is it the responsibility for the pastor to find every opportunity themselves? i was brought up into a culture where that was "supposed" to be their job. when the pastors at my church burn themselves out trying to do everything that the congregation believes they should be doing, my mother and her like-minded friends say "well that's their job, they should be doing it."

i had always thought (or at least since going to university) that i had escaped this mindset. but it seems that the way i was brought up has affected me more than i realized.

i'm training to be a pastor. but when i talk to people like that, it scares me so so so much. i've seen numerous pastors that tried to live up to these expectations who basically killed themselves by trying to do everything themselves.

when the church works like it's meant to - the pastor teaches and mentors, the congregation as a whole is sent out to reach the world - it is so much more effective at reaching people. when the people go from being spectators and wishing to be entertained on sundays to becoming the arms and feet of Jesus - we can do so much more.

there are so many organizations out there doing fantastic work. but i truly believe that without Jesus there are no real lasting effects. the church brings a message of hope and love that no secular organization can really match. but only when we become what we were meant to be.

the church is not a building, or an organization, or a political statement - it is a group of changed people going into the world to change other people.