What is a Church?

Church is the body of Christ as well as a place to worship God with other believers.

Church is not just a group you belong to or a theology you agree with or a pastor you like but a family who worships and serves God together. Sadly, not all attendees are members, and not all members are involved in church life.

The degree of our involvement in church activities no matter how noble can be restricted by the amount of free time or the state of our health. In addition, our lack of involvement can be affected by more important priorities like our family. Not only can time, ability, and priorities  contribute to our decision to participate in church activities, but so can our desire.

Some pastors might convince you to be involved for a season but long lasting commitment must come from a desire within your own heart to serve your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Though i am actively involved in the church to which I belong, I must confess I attend another church on Saturday night. I am not being disingenuous or disloyal. I continue to attend the second church because it’s size is such that my attendance goes unnoticed. I attend both because both meet my needs.

My church has a worship band that leads us to clap our hands or raise our arms in praise to God and a preacher that leads us verse by verse through the written Word. I love both!

The other church has a worship leader who leads the congregation in hymns written by Charles Wesley (Methodist), Martin Luther (Lutheran) and John Newton (Anglican). We sing acapella or with a non electric guitar or piano. Though the sermon is short and often nondescript, the weekly communion is long and savored.

In my church, the bread and grape juice are passed by ushers row by row. In the large church, we stand in line and walk forward to receive bread and wine from the pastor or elders. We kneel before and after we partake of the sacraments. I discovered that this simple act of kneeling has a profound affect on me. Everyone kneels, so I do not feel conspicuous.

In my church, one passage of Scripture is used for the sermon. In the other church, three passages are read from the Lectionary: one is from the Old Testament, one is from the Psalms or Epistles, and another is from the Gospels. Each Scripture is read by a different person from the pulpit and the sermon is related to one of those three passages.

My church never recites the Lord!s Prayer or the Nicene Creed, but the other church does this at every service.

Neither church has an “altar call” for one to accept Christ as their personal Savior. Instead, my church ends with a short prayer. The other church ends with a Benediction. A long prayer for specific people and for various needs all over the world was given before the sermon.

My church is multi-ethnic as is the other church. However most of the churches in my denomination are separated by ethnicity. Even though each ethnicity has a different kind of worship that reflects preferences unique to each culture, we are all the body of Christ: the Church!



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