We Are The Church

Saturday, July 25, 2015
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Listen while you read: "All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name"1 (Lyrics)

In our town of 8,500 people, we have eleven Christian church buildings: eight still active, one for sale, one already sold, and three without clergy. Obviously, in the past, our forebears felt the need to build all these churches in which to worship God. As most of us are aware, we've lost a whole generation of people who didn't continue their parents' practice of looking to God for their salvation. As a result, today, many of our churches are struggling to stay alive with small congregations of mainly seniors. Their buildings are expensive to maintain, and discussion ensues about the real possibility of a decision to sell them.

When this happens, many people are distraught at the thought of losing their church. In some cases, it is very traumatic for them and causes hurt and even anger. People continue hoping that their church will survive. After all, they went to Sunday school there, they were married there, their children were baptized there, and the church is full of memories for them.

From a human perspective, this is very understandable. We do become attached to things, and we don't want change. Unfortunately, when viewed this way, we are overlooking God's perspective:

Acts 17:24 – The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. (NIV)

1 Corinthians 6:19 – Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? (NIV)

1 Corinthians 12:27 – Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (NIV)

The fact is that we ourselves are actually "the church", and the building is just a meeting place to worship God. At some point in the past, when those church buildings were built, they were commissioned by like-minded Christians who had been meeting to worship in homes or perhaps schools. They wanted a church building, but had been meeting without one. God doesn't need buildings; He wants our hearts.

Paul states clearly in 1 Corinthians 12 that we ourselves are the body of Christ. Each one of us has a function which supports the whole, and together, we are the church. When we rebuild our churches heart by heart and soul by soul instead of brick by brick, then we will rebuild the body of Christ – the church.

Prayer: Lord God, we pray for those whose church buildings will be lost to them. Comfort them, and make them mindful that they themselves are God's church, which must be rebuilt, saved soul by saved soul. Give them the peace of knowing that as long as the people are still praying and watching and meeting for worship, the church of Christ is alive in their town. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

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About the author:

Karen Abbott <kkabbott47@gmail.com>
Renfrew, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you for sharing this much needed devotional reminder with us. Blessings.

    Very well put. The church we were married in is now a veterinarian. Thanks for sharing.

    AMEN!! Thank you Karen.
    God bless you.

    So true – too many are worrying about bricks instead of going out into the community where they are needed.

    Thanks, Karen for such a relevant devotional.
    Hope to hear from you again.

    Dear Karen, Such a good devotional today! And so true that we are the church to the world. Thanks for sharing. May God bless you.

    Thanks for your encouraging message today when so many churches are facing closing down or amalgamation. We do tend to become very attached to our buildings don’t we. Blessings.

    My thoughts exactly, Karen. All too many ‘Christians’ today seem to equate God with the church. Perhaps learning that it is ‘Christ in you’ who is the church would set off a revival across our country. Just a thought.

    Hello Karen – thank you for sharing this devotional! Many people really need to hear what you are saying and understand what is important in our faith and in our congregations today. It isn’t the church buildings (which are beautiful but, too big and costing too much). You said it perfectly and the scripture backs up the points you made — it makes sense! Thanks.

    Dear Karen;
    What a refreshing devotional with promise! I totally agree with you. You and I and others are the “church”, living stones, not bricks or wood. My grandmother, who has passed, lived to a ripe old age of 97 always said, “I don’t have to attend a church building, I can go into the woods and pray and worship God there.”

    Dear Karen, Thank you for your devotional. It is so meaningful to me as our church is struggling to keep open. It is likely we will close. At one time it was full, now we have only a small number on a Sunday. As you said it is traumatic for many to see a beautiful building empty. My question is “Why do the younger generation not feel the need for Christian worship?” I appreciate all of your thoughts expressed.

    Good morning Karen! What an excellent devotion this morning. Your words need to be shared. We are in a small town of 2500 with 8 churches all struggling. And as you say people become attached to their buildings.
    Your words are a great reminder as well as an encouragement. May God continue to bless you as you share His love with others through your writings.

    It’s a sad situation Karen,
    A lot of churches today are too commercialized vying for numbers.
    We may be better off with the smaller home churches where the Word of God is being preached and Jesus is the focus.
    Keep the faith.
    Bless you for your commitment.

    Hi Karen,
    Thank you for a relevant story. It is the same here and I often say what did we do to drive the young people and others away.
    Is the fact that other events occur at the same time on Sunday morning and that the people feel those are more important?
    We have 3000 out for soccer; we are lucky to get 3 out for Sunday School.

    Dear Karen,
    You have written a good overview of the condition of the church. These changes are developing all around the world. This reminds me when I recently asked of my primary physician as to where he worshipped, he replied, “We worship in a home church.” It is a fact that China is having a tremendous growth in Christians and they worship in “home churches.” This growth has developed without church buildings. Thank you for discussing this interesting topic. May God bless you.
    (California, USA)

    An excellent message, well put for adults. I’m used to teaching this fact to the children, but not to the adults. How well you have explained it!

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