Why do we church? English majors will get after me for using a noun as a verb because we usually think of church as a physical place we go. I would like to suggest that maybe church is more than simply a place we go, rather church is something we do.
A theologian once wrote, “Church as a noun is a place we go. Church as a verb says, ‘I am the church’. Are you a noun or a verb?”
This question has had growing significance as we have processed living in a world wrestling with a major health crisis. All of us have gone through a time of isolation of one kind or another over the last 18 months, and some of us are still struggling with isolation.
Many of us have discovered, or been reminded, that church is so much more than a place we go, as nice as our church buildings might be. Church is something we do.
So the question remains, “Why do we church?”
Do we church for personal relationships? Do we church for spiritual fellowship? Do we church because we feel obligated to give God a few hours of our time? Why do we church?
Over the next few months we are going to explore the answers to that question, “Why do we church?”
I think a solid foundation to answer this question is found in John 3:16, among other places in scripture. “For God so loved the world” describes an all-powerful God choosing the action of love toward us. God is choosing to love you! This love led to the ultimate sacrifice, on our behalf, “that He gave His only begotten son,” Jesus.
The verse goes on, “that whoever BELIEVES in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” This word “believes” connotes a complete trust, a change in a person’s life, a belief that leads to action.
In the context of John 3:16 what might that “action” look like? To possibly coin a new term, it could look like “Churching.” I’ve recently been in conversation with our wonderful team of pastors about what this might look like as we plan for 2022. We’ve discussed having a conference-wide baptismal goal which would be great as it represents changed lives. We’ve discussed simply (but importantly) intentionally increasing our friend base, so that we have more people to impact for Jesus. We’ve discussed a more active goal of conference-wide Bible studies, actively sharing Jesus’ stories with your friends.
We estimate that we have approximately 3,000 people in church on Sabbath mornings. What would happen in our conference if we had 3,000 new Bible studies in 2022? What would happen if we had 6,000 new Bible studies next year? We are called to share what Jesus has done for us, with others. The Holy Spirit does the rest. I’m excited to see what God will do through us in 2022.
I will close with the question for you to ponder, “Why do we church?”
Adam Case, Ministerial Director