Summary: The word church in the Greek is the word ekklesia. It is used roughly 100 times in the Scripture. But I want you to understand something. A church is not about a building or a location... It is about people. God’s people gathered together to worship and
“God’s Forever Family”
It was way back in the 1970s before I was married in fact that I became a part of what was known as THE JESUS MOVEMENT. I drove a 1969 Mustang, candy apple red and the license plate I posted on the front of the car said just one word...JESUS. When I drove that car around I wanted people to understand one thing more than any other and that was that I had planted my faith firmly in Jesus Christ for the rest of my life.
The University I was attending was in Jonesboro, Arkansas and as I drove into town to get settled there I noticed a Christian bookstore. There’s something that happens when I pass a bookstore by the way... The wheels on my car automatically turn in. They did on my Mustang and they have on every car I have owned since that time. It was at that bookstore that I met some people with whom I became very close. They were certainly not perfect but I found them to be the real deal. They were very committed to Jesus. Most of them had altered their lifestyle to the point that they served in the ministry through that coffeehouse and bookstore for just room and board. No paycheck. I was amazed at their commitment. They worked together, they shared food together; I saw them function as a church would but they met in a building that didn’t look like a church-so do we-but that was not common in the 70s. They wore T-shirts, jeans and sandals-kind of like people do in Florida but this was what they wore to church while the rest of the church population in that day was wearing three-piece suits. Coat. Vest. Ties. Dress shoes. They studied the Bible like no group I had ever encountered. Each one of them were committed to read at least 10 chapters a day. They could quote the Scripture and the change was evident in their lives. Here’s the truth we really need to latch onto...
The church is not a building. It is a group of people who have gathered around a common purpose.
The word church in the Greek is the word ekklesia. It is used roughly 100 times in the Scripture. But I want you to understand something. A church is not about a building or a location... It is about people. God’s people gathered together to worship and carry out his purpose. So we would be more correct if we did not say as many of us do, “’m going to church today” but instead we said, “I am the church today.” You and I are the church. This is basically what Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus. He was reminding them that when we give our lives to Jesus Christ we are united together as part of God’s forever family. And in this forever family there at least four things that bring us together and hold us together.
(1) We are linked together by a common purpose. That purpose drives everything we do. 25 years ago churches did not speak much about the word purpose. It was there, we just didn’t say much about it nor did we talk about what drives us as a church. Then one day churches, including this one began to ask— who is it or what is it that sits in the driver’s seat in our church? Some examples of this include the following:
• Some are driven by tradition. For these churches most of what they do centers around what they have already done. It worked well in the past; the people love it so we continue.
• Some are driven by finances. In this kind of church, the primary focus-anytime the church is making a decision is this-how much does it cost? Nothing else is ever as important as money. Money drives everything these churches do and every decision that is made.
• Some are driven by buildings. Winston Churchill once said, “We shape our buildings and then they shape us.” We design a building thinking that building is going to serve us for the rest of our lives and then we live with it. Churches that are driven primarily by their facility, place their entire focus in this area. The building becomes more important than anything else.
There are certainly other purposes that tend to drive churches today but understand this... When a church focuses to the exclusion of everything else on one of these... Tradition, finances, the building or a certain group of people, power people, who drive all the church does; a serious mistake is being made. Churches must focus on one thing. Purpose. What is the purpose of the church? For us we put it this way...