It is popular today for people to say, “Don’t go to church; BE the church.” Everybody nods their heads at this, but few actually know what it means or how to truly “be the church.” With this post, Sam Riviera is starting a series of posts on how to be the church in your community. If you have ever wondered how to be the church in your community, you don’t want to miss a post. I will try to put one up each Monday for the next several weeks.
When most people in our culture think of church, what comes to mind?
Most people think of church as a location with buildings and property, or as an organization. When asked about our relationship with “church”, people usually ask us “Where do you go to church?”, “What church do you belong to?” or “Where is your church”?
While that understanding of church is common, my wife and I think of church as “those people who follow Jesus.” For some, that may include properties, buildings, programs, staff, and all the other accouterments that go with the organizational, institutional understanding of church. For some of us, it does not.
While we find it important to gather with other believers to share the common hope we have in Jesus, we do not limit that to the organizational, institutional scenario. We try to “be the church” in the community – every single day.
What Does It Look Like To “Be The Church In The Community”?
As we proceed through this series, I will give various examples of what this looks like for us and encourage you to share examples of what this looks like for you in your community. None of these examples are intended to be a model for you to follow. Instead, they are only instances that will not only help us to dream of what it looks like to be the church in our communities, but also help us to live out our calling to follow Jesus in our communities.
A Day in the Life of Being the Church
What does a typical day of “being the church in the community” look like for us? I doubt that there is such a thing for us as a typical day, but I will describe what it looked like for us today.
After spending the morning on jury duty, I came home and changed to go running. First, however, I watered plants and pulled weeds for a neighbor who is out of town. Then I talked with another neighbor whose wife recently left him. I invited him to our upcoming block party.
After running, I talked to another neighbor about some details for the upcoming block party that she is helping us organize, then greeted another neighbor, a widow who told me her phones had not worked for two days and she could not call anyone because she had also lost her cell phone. A couple of hours later, we had determined that there was a problem with her phone system, and had found her cell phone so she could report the problem with her landline to her landline provider.
After my wife came home from work we walked through our neighborhood before leaving for our evening class. We greeted several neighbors, then drove to class. After class, we discovered a backpack in the parking lot next to our car. We opened it (No, it didn’t explode) and found a driver’s license, credit card and other personal items for a person vacationing from out of the area. With the help of a friend who has a smart phone app that found a phone number for the address on the driver’s license, we reached the owner of the backpack and arranged for her to pick up her backpack.
It Takes Nothing Big to Be the Church.
As you can see, nothing about our day would be material for a book or a mini series. It would never be the sermon illustration for a mega-church sermon. Yet we see days like this as a somewhat typical day of being the church in the community.
To be the church, all we do is keep our eyes and ears open to the people around us, and try to show them love in whatever way we can.
In future posts we will look at various other ways we have sought to be the church in the community, will give examples of other people we know who are being the church in their communities, and will encourage you to give examples from your experience.
Be the Church in Your CommunityWant to be the church in your community but don't know? Here are some posts which not only explain what it means to be the church in your community, but also gives concrete, practical examples of what it looks like and how to be the church whatever you do and wherever you go. Remember, you ARE the church, and wherever you go, Jesus goes with you!
- How to Be the Church in Your Community
- The Tribe and the Church
- Church Tribes vs. the Jesus Tribe
- How to Preach the Gospel to your Neighbors
- Being the Church is Loving the Person in Front of You
- 4 Practical Suggestions for Being the Church in your Community
- Love Like Jesus by Listening to People
- Welcome New People to the Community
- Finding Jesus in Denver
- Loving Others at Walmart