By Jeff Goins, Editor
Church is simple. You really should try it. It’s Wednesday night when I’m writing this, and I’ve just returned from a fellowship gathering at the house of one of our church members who is allowing us to meet there, even when they’re out of town. We sat in their living room, sang a few songs, discussed the book of Acts, and prayed as the Holy Spirit led us.
As we began, for some reason I got anxious thoughts: “What if God doesn’t show up here? What if I don’t ‘feel the Spirit moving’? What if we’re just going through the motions in a new setting?” As we prayed, I felt the presence of God telling me to relax, that he was there in our midst, and to just enjoy it.
Even though I learned a long time ago that God manifests himself however and whenever he wants, I still struggle with wanting to manipulate and control him.
Tonight, I thanked Jesus that his Body isn’t a “service.”
These days, I’m learning two things about church: 1) that community without going deep is not community worth having, and 2) that church looks different to different people (while still being legitimate, biblical church).
Gary Black recently had church with 15 people in his living room. The Holy Spirit fell, people were convicted, ministry happened, and I’m pretty sure someone preached. What else could you ask for? The Barnes family took in the Bokelman kids for a day to give Clint and Aimee a rest, because they knew that they could use it. If you asked Seth and Karen why, they’d tell you that’s just what a good church does.
When I was waiting to get married last winter, a couple took me into their home for the month of December, feeding me and taking care of my needs as I was between living quarters. We even celebrated Christmas together. They’re from my church, but our best church moments happened outside of the building.
And tomorrow, I’ll get together with my pastor, who’s one of the best Bible teachers I’ve ever known, for lunch. We do this every week. I ask him tough questions about the seeming contradictions or “problem passages” in Scripture, and instead of denouncing me as a heretic, he graciously helps me work out my doubts and questions, never afraid to tell me, “I don’t know.”
I know that we could label these different activities with Christianese expressions, such as “bible study” or “fellowship time” or “discipleship,” isn’t it just as appropriate to call these get-togethers “church”?
Jeff graduated from Illinois College, a small liberal arts school, with a degree in Spanish and Religion. He lives in Nashville, TN. He works for Adventures in Missions, edits this silly little magazine, and loves to do new things.