By Erin Almand
Exactly what is church? Just what does it mean? Many people associate church with a building, cars parked outside and members dressed in their Sunday best. Church is something we do on Sundays. We tithe. We sing three worship songs and listen to the sermon. Go home, rinse, and repeat next Sunday.
It can be as meaningful or as meaningless as people want it to be. Church can be our lifeline, our rock, our way to thank and praise God. Yet it only happens on Sundays, and only in the building we all hope has available and close parking.
Around here, its different.
My parents became dissatisfied with the institutional church when I was younger. Although I attended Christian school through eighth grade, they thought it best to try something a little more unconventional, maybe even a little radical.
We have church at home. Im not talking we skip church every once in a while for some family time. No, I mean our home is our church. Actually, to take it one step further, we are our church.
Before you write angry emails to Wrecked telling the editors to better screen their contributors, hear me out. The Bible says that Where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20).
In the Bible, the early church didnt have a building. They met in homes. They knew the size of the building didnt matter, or how many chariots were in the courtyard, or how big the offering basket was for the week. It was about the community. It was about fellowship.
So in my family, we have church at home. What do these services look like? Nothing like the typical church service, or at least nothing like one Ive ever been to. We dont have a formula. Sometimes one of us will prepare a teaching, or bring up a passage, if we feel compelled to share. Sometimes we sing praise and worship. My sister plays the guitar and my brother plays the bongo drums. Sometimes we sit outside, or go hiking with our dog and do a study outside.
Often times, we will sit in prayer, or just discuss our lives and worries, praises and prayer requests. Sometimes we lay hands and pray for a sick family member. Sometimes other families or people will join us, and other times its just a few members of the family, if jobs or games come up. Sometimes we have it in the morning, sometimes at night. And it’s not always on a Sunday. Sometimes it lasts 30 minutes, other times a few hours.
Since Ive now gone off to a college thats nine hours away, we have handled things a little differently. I live in Saint Louis, and dont have a car. The city isnt exactly the safest place around, and its been difficult to find a church within safe walking distance.
Thanks to technology, the problem has been solved. My laptop has a camera so I can chat with my family or friends, virtually anyone with a video camera hooked up to a computer. I can see their faces, hear their voices, as they can see and hear me. Its really cool!
Anyway, as unconventional as this is, we have started doing church over the internet via video chat. Lately we have been going through the book of Romans together. I love the fact that I can continue in our home church while being so far away at school.
As weird as our little home church sounds, whats even weirder is the fact that it works. God shows up. I dont think He minds that we are often in our pajamas without a shower or any makeup. It doesnt matter to Him if we are in my living room or in the office, talking to each other through the camera and a computer, or outside in the mountains. All that matters is we are there; we are the church.
You see, church can no longer be something we do on Sundays and then cross off our lists. It is not a building we visit on the weekends. The church is the body, not the building. It is a family. All it requires is open hearts and two or more gatheredor video chatting onlinein His name. He will come.
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Erin is a freshman at Saint Louis University. She cant wait for spring to hit up here, and has successfully survived her first real winter. You can visit her on facebook or email her at [email protected].