I confess one of my biggest pet peeves about Christians is how we perpetuate the myth that Church = Buildings. We know the world does it all the time. They talk about that lovely church on Main Street. The reason they do it is because WE do it. I have a meeting at church tonight. We go to First Church. Are you going to have a church wedding?
In some annual conference sessions of the United Methodist Church appointments are announced by displaying a photo of the pastor and one of the church BUILDING. I thought pastors were appointed to communities and churches consisting of PEOPLE.
Perhaps one of the consequences of hundreds of years of such references is the current decline in attendance across all Christian denominations. We are losing our identity as a living, breathing, body of Christ. And over the course of centuries we have replaced it with the notion of nice buildings with members.
In reality the Church of Jesus Christ lives in the hearts and minds of people who confess to be followers of Jesus who seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. It is not a physical building. If the building where your church meets burns down today, your church would still exist to carry out the mission of God in the world.
So let's use our language in ways that reflect our theology. When referring to our buildings let's say buildings. But when we are talking about the body of Christ let's use Church. As many of us learned in Sunday School...
The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple, the church is not a resting place, the church is a people. I am the Church, you are the Church, we are the Church together. All who follow Jesus all around the world, yes, we’re the Church together.