HOWEVER, it seems that many today have misinterpreted the saying.
Instead, they hear “Don’t go to church; be the church.”
After all, who really needs to go to church on a regular basis when you’re living for the Lord every day? We all can serve the Lord wherever we find ourselves, right? Instead of being at church for worship, I can worship God by spending time among His creation or by sitting on my front porch meditating privately on His Word. Instead of being at church for fellowship, I can let my light shine on the ballfield or by hanging out with my friends who aren’t Christians. Instead of being at church for spiritual family, I need to make some time this weekend with my physical family.
That all sounds good in theory, but it does not reflect what the Bible says about “church.” As you read the New Testament, it’s obvious that early disciples viewed church as more than a place to be. In fact, they did not enjoy the luxury or convenience of a “church building.” But they came together as the church on a regular basis, and it was a top priority in their lives (Acts 2:41-47; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
Moreover, Scripture frequently refers to the church as the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:16; Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27). There is just one body, and metaphorically speaking, each Christian is a body part. Bodies don’t survive when body parts are disconnected or are not working together in unison. Maybe that’s why many churches are dying today and fewer believers feel the need to be a part of church. And yes, you can show up for “church” and still be disconnected to it.
Churches that thrive and grow, however, are made up of people who come together on a regular basis and WANT to be together. Christians who thrive and grow come together with their church on a regular basis and WANT to be with the church. They don’t just know each other by where they sit on Sunday mornings. They know each other because they are a part of one another’s lives. They eat together, play together, serve together, laugh together, cry together, and pray together. That’s the church you read about in the New Testament, and it continues to be the church we all need today.
By all means, don’t just go to church; be the church . . . and be with the church. Being the church and being with the church is one of the best ways to bless yourself and others. May God bless all of our churches today and this coming Sunday as we are with His church.