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Summary: “What is a church?” Now that seems like a easy question, the sort of question one might answer in an simple sentence or two. “A church is a building in which Christians meet for worship,” is one obvious answer. “ Why is this study called Who is Church?

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Who is the Church?

“The Church confronts the world with a message the world craves for but resents because it comes through the Cross of Christ.” Oswald Chambers

Read Romans Chapter 12.

“What is a church?”

Now that seems like a easy question, the sort of question one might answer in an simple sentence or two. “A church is a building in which Christians meet for worship,” is one obvious answer. “

Why is this study called Who is Church? Rather than What is Church? “A church is a group of Christians who gather together to worship or fellowship together”

People have a wide range of ideas about what church should be. If you ask a dozen people you’d probably get a dozen different answers. Most people get their ideas about church from a wide variety of sources.

Before you came to church what shaped your expectation of church?

When you first came to church was it what you expected?

Where do most people get their ideas from about what church is?

“Modern” views

Past experience

Some people get their ideas of church from their past experience of church. Many people come to church with no religious background. They may have some prior history limited to weddings and funerals. People usually have both positive and negative past experiences from which to draw.

The News

Some people get their ideas of church from the news. Much of the time, what people get from the news is not very positive. Church scandals make headlines. Churches that are faithfully living out the Christian life are ignored by the media.

Personal needs and preferences

Some people get their ideas of church from a projection of their personal needs and preferences. They may have a need and assume the church is the place that should meet that specific need. The church does meet many needs. Often people are drawn to church because of that are not the church’s main business. For example, someone might come to church hoping to make new friends.

Some people expect the church to be like some similar organisation or event. For example, some people expect a church to be like a concert. When you go to a concert, you file into an auditorium. You sit in rows and watch something happening on the stage up front. If the concert is any good, you feel lots of positive emotions. At times you might even get into the act, but just a bit. You leave feeling uplifted and satisfied by the performance. Church, for many people, is just like this, only better, because you don’t need a ticket, and don’t even have to pay anything if you don’t want to.

School or club

Some people think of church like a school. They come for religious education. For others, a church is like a club, perhaps a social club or a service club. Churches have regular meetings. We have members and a process for joining. Members can become leaders in the church. We do lots of different things together, including service projects and social gatherings. At church, as in a club, we make friends and find a centre for our socialising.


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