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The Church Left The Building

God has not hit the pause button on His mission.  God has not stopped asking us to go and make disciples.  God’s mission has not slowed down and He still asks of us to love our neighbors as ourselves.  The Great Commission and the Great Commandment remain unaffected and unchanged.  Many things are being cancelled but hear this: NOT CHURCH!

Yes, it will look different and large services will not be held. But the church continues to pray, function, minister, meet needs, worship, study, and love one another.  We must continue to be salt and light.  Do you know why?  The truth is that the church is not a building and never has been.  The church is you and me…Christ followers.  

As we submit (not surrender) to the authorities’ recommendations and mandates we should take a position of cooperation for containment as we care for our flocks and our community.  The church is the people of God who love and follow Jesus.  The church is His children pointing others toward Him.  And right now people need Jesus.  It is all of us who are His disciples helping people to find and follow Him.

A.W. Tozer said, “A frightened world needs a fearless church!”  Maybe, without realizing, we have turned the Great Commission into, “Go into all the world and make more worship attenders!”  We have measured success too much by the size of those present more than those actively becoming disciples who make disciples.  Size and money no longer give any church an advantage or disadvantage.

The challenge to everyone of is to have the heart of Christ and a willingness to be His hands and feet. In Colossians 4:3 Paul says, “At the same time, pray also for us that God may open a door to us for the message, to speak the mystery of the Messiah, for which I am in prison.”  You cannot mobilize a worship service but you can mobilize a body.  The power of the church is not in its ability to gather but its ability to scatter.

Now geographical proximity is everything.  How do we take responsibility for those around us?  Who on my block is a believer and how can we cooperate to minister to others?  It is time for us to draw a circle around those close to us that we can effectively reach and accept that responsibility.  If you are rural, your circle may include those 2-3 miles around you and if you are in the city it might include 2-3 blocks.

What if we began logging our prayer walk distance?  We say we believe in prayer but this is a great opportunity to put it into practice.  How many miles a day could the members of your church log if each one practiced a mile prayer walk in their neighborhood?  If your church has around 100 attenders that could potentially be a 100 miles a day and easily add up to 700 miles a week.

What if we began holding each another accountable by asking two questions?  How are you doing?  And then following that up with, how are your neighbors doing?  We do not have a relevancy problem, but instead we have an accessibility problem.  The metaphor that comes to mind is that our lights have been under the bushel far too long.  This is a wonderful opportunity to love our neighbors the way Christ commanded.

How do live sent through a crisis like this?  By being the church.  We became experts on doing church but now Christ has placed us in a time to love our neighbor by finding out how can we pray for them and how we can serve them.  We have probably heard someone at some time say, “It’s all about the weekend!”  It is not and never has been.  It is important and corporate worship is needed, but now more than ever it is time to also be the church.

Maybe God is using this crisis to reorient us to love Him first more than a building, a program, a service, or an event.  Here is a word from the leadership of one church,  “Since the ascension of Jesus, the church has gathered with a regular rhythm, but often in different venues. Sometimes the church has met house to house, sometimes in synagogues, and sometimes in catacombs.”  

“Sometimes in cathedrals, sometimes in schools, and sometimes in former movie theaters.  The point was never where, rather, an encouragement to do so on a regular basis (Hebrews 10:24-25).  This is an amazing opportunity for us to remember, and declare, that the church is not a building.”  It is not all about the weekend and never has been.  It is the people of God on mission together.

Have we forgotten about Matthew 18:19-20 that states where two or three are gathered He promises to be present?  Jewish tradition stated that ten men had to be present to constitute a synagogue or to even hold a prayer meeting.  Jesus promised to be present in the midst of even a smaller flock.  Yes, we love getting together but what a comfort to know this truth that He is with us even in groups of 10 or smaller.

To whom is Jesus sending you?  To whom does He want you to be His hands and feet?  To whom does He want you to show His heart of compassion in your acts of kindness and service?

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