Putting ‘together’ back into Church

With my job I have the wonderful opportunity to visit and speak at various Churches. Speaking at churches, and pastoring for a little bit has caused me to fall in love with the Church. This organism, called the bride of Christ, the Temple of God, sons and daughters of God, even co-heirs with Christ, and a whole host of other names full of affection, is important.

So important that in Ephesians 3:10-11 Paul say’s that it’s God’s intention, “…that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is what we/I get to be a part of, just incredible.

Anyway back on track. The ‘you’ so often referred to in the NT is to the Church, not you as an individual. It does affect/apply to you/me as individuals but the context is the church. For example the love passage in 1 Corinthians 13 is helpful for husbands and wives as a general principle but more importantly Paul directed it to the Church. If we don’t love our Christian brothers and sisters then we are like a clanging gong, etc.

Basically all this is to say that the Church is us together, not us as individuals. Hence all I need is not God and my Bible, but God and my Bible, and His Church. Anyway while visiting one church recently, during the worship time, the song leader made the statement that the most important reason we were here was to worship God. Which is true. But… Is it really the main reason?

Should we come to Church to worship God or should we come for another reason? See I can worship God wherever I am. Paul in Romans talks about offering our whole lives as living sacrifices which he says is our act of worship. I don’t need to come to a Church service to worship God, so why go to Church?

I want to make the claim that we attend church services to worship God but we come to do it…together. It’s a small word added on the end but I believe it makes a big difference.  We are the Church together not the Church as individuals.

So my question is this: Am I just being to knit-picky and the ‘together’ aspect is already assumed. Or has our Culture’s rampant individualism pushed the together out of the Church? Do we need to put the together back into our vocabulary?

If so, then do we as leaders and pastors need be more intentional about making the ‘together’ more obvious in what we say?

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2 thoughts on “Putting ‘together’ back into Church

  1. Totally agree Ben. One thing I think we might consider, is changing our language. As you rightly say, “our Culture’s rampant individualism” has embraced the modern concept of ‘a personal relationship with Jesus’. Jesus invites us to follow him (a personal invitation) but we are not called to keep him to our selves (selfish individualism). Becoming a disciple of Jesus has always been a public relationship with God. Confess with your MOUTH. Baptism as a WITNESS. GO and MAKE disciples. As God has SENT me, so I am SENDING you.

    So, when we come together, as the Church, our gathered-ness is in itself an act of worship. We celebrate the amazing reality that we have all been made ONE with Christ Jesus. Different but the same. Church is not meant to be selfish, closed and inward focused. We are the Bride of Christ ALL the time, not just on Sunday. The question we might want to ask is, ‘Am I honoring my ‘husband’ in every aspect of my life ALL the time?’ So much of what God wants to say to a hurting world is intended to be said THROUGH our relationship with Him (and with each other for that matter!!)

    1. Thanks Matt for your comments. You are spot on. We respond to Jesus as individuals, neither our parents, or friends, or Church can do that for us. Also we are responsible for our own personal spiritual growth either, though surrounding ourselves with the right people can help us in that regard.

      What I do find interesting though is that the individual and the corporate nature of the Church come together in the “two greatest commands” Love God and Love your neighbour. These commands are the most important and they are intrinsic to each other. If we love God more the effect is that we will love our neighbour more. And by loving our neighbour we show that we love God. Simplistic overview of those commands but I think they stand.

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