What is church? According to our friend Keith Giles, author of Jesus Unveiled: Forsaking Church As We Know It To Experience Ekklesia As God Intended, and our guest last night on our BlogTalkRadio show, an unbiased, unindoctrinated observer of the most popular churches today might easily come away with the idea that church is little more than a rock concert followed by a TED talk. Now that might satisfy lots of folks, and a steady diet of that might be what most people want out of church — a hip, fun experience that fulfills the idea that they have paid attention to their spiritual life by getting themselves together and going to “church” once a week, but that isn’t doing it for me, and I think also for a growing number of people, especially millennials, who are looking for something different, more personal, and more meaningful than this.
The clearest way to cut through the stage fog here is to remind ourselves that church is not a building, or a program, or an institution, or a show, or a corporation with a staff and a budget, but a living, organic body of believers, and where two or three of these people are gathered together, Jesus is there in their midst. The church is people, and the church is us.
Keith Giles’ rendering of church, over which he wrote this book, is a small gathering of believers in his home twice a week. For about half the time they take seriously the fact that Jesus is in the room and they focus only on Him.
As Keith said, “If you and I were talking and suddenly Jesus showed up in the flesh, we would probably stop talking.” Yes, undoubtedly so; we would pay attention to Him. So that’s what they do for half of their church time, they talk to Jesus, bring him gifts, sing to him, or maybe just be silent before Him. For the rest of the time, they talk to each other by bringing things to share with the group. Each one comes prepared to share something. It’s unplanned. It’s organic. It takes seriously the presence of Christ. It relies on everyone’s giftedness in the body. It takes seriously the fact that all are ministers of the gospel. This is church, as much as any official service in a dedicated church building — perhaps more so. It’s what, according to research, more and more people are now experiencing as church. However we experience it, we will come to the conclusion that we have met the church, and the Churches “R” Us.