Church is Not Just About God



If you go to church or have gone to church you've probably heard this saying before "We don't go to church for other people. We go to church for God." It sounds noble. And if you don't look into it you may end up believing it. But it turns out, it isn't really true. 

The New Testament introduces us to the concept of church. The Greek word it uses is the word ecclessia which literally means "group of people".* So when Jesus says to Peter, "On this rock I will build my church" he is literally saying, "On this rock I will build my group of people". Likewise, when the NT speaks of believers having church it simply means that they were having community. Nowhere in the NT do we get the idea that the church is a building or a location. Not once. Instead, the church is a non-building, non-temple, non-institutional group of people who do life together with God and each other.

With this concept in mind, it's impossible to maintain the old adage that "We go to church for God not people." What we are literally saying is "We go to a group of people for God not for people." I don't know about you, but that sounds really weird.

If the church were a place you go to worship God then yes, it would be exclusively about him and no one else. But the church is not a place! It is a community. It is a group of people. When we go to church we go to connect with God and with this group of people who love him and worship him. Most of the time when people say that church is just about God and no one else, they are trying to convince someone who has been hurt by someone in the church or who is tired of the hypocrisy to come anyways because its just God you are there for. It comes from a good place. But its horribly flawed. People are not supposed to come to church just for God. They are supposed to come for the people as well! The church was made for community. For friendship. For togetherness and withness. It was made for companionship and social support. Its about God and people.

If this is true, then we need to stop excusing our hypocrisy and failures with the "its just about God" cop out. Instead, we should take a good hard look at ourselves and an even longer/ harder look at the cross of Christ. What are the areas in which we are failing to be the kind of community that God has called us to be? And how can we become that ecclessia? 

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* Ecclessia: 1) a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly 1a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating 1b) the assembly of the Israelites 1c) any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously 1d) in a Christian sense 1d1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting 1d2) a company of Christians, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order's sake 1d3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body 1d4) the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth 1d5) the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven Synonym [https://lumina.bible.org]

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