2000 years ago, as Jesus was preparing his apostles for life after the resurrection, he told them he was building his ekklesia or assembly through them and he used language like Kingdom and family. English translators would call this his Church.
Today, when you hear the word church, you might think of a specific church with a building and ministry programs; one where you attend worship services, bible studies or youth and children’s ministries.
However, that’s not how Jesus talked about the Church. It wasn’t that Jesus didn’t think worship or bible studies were important. I’m fact Jewish children would have already memorized the first 5 books of the Old Testament, called the Torah, by the time they were 10 years old. He also demonstrated that worship was something you did every day, not just 1 day a week at a certain time and on a certain day.
Jesus talked about BEING the church instead of going TO church. He emphasized character, self-denial, maturing spiritually, and serving others. He said we would do what the apostles witnessed him doing, including caring for the sick, giving to the poor and rescuing the captive.
The activities of the church would mimic the truths of being the church. This, he would say, was The Way.
As we begin 2023, it’s time for us to have a new conversation about church. But really what we need is to remember an ancient conversation; one that took place 2000 years ago with the one who would define the church and make it a reality in this world.
Jesus is still inviting us to follow this Way and lead others to it. Will you join us? Will you see what God might want to say to you about your Way? About our Way, together?