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The Church: Not a Building, But a Body

By Pastor Peter McDonald

Midway Baptist Church

 

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:18-22 (NKJV)

My two sons, Micah and Malachi, enjoy – no – LOVE playing with Legos. For hours, they can be lost in a world that includes their favorite characters, creations, and scenarios. Not to brag, but my boys are incredibly creative when it comes to what they can come up with. A couple of weeks ago, they were in their playroom working with the Legos and I hear them discussing their newest creation, The Legoland Baptist Church.

“Legoland has no place for people to worship.” “They have no God.” “They need a place to go to church to learn about God.” “Let’s do this!”

The construction began, and within the next hour they had built the first Baptist Church in Legoland… to all of my non-Baptist friends, don’t worry! You’re welcome to Legoland Baptist too! When they brought the final product, it was quite impressive. Their church buildings had a sanctuary complete with seats, an altar, a sound room with a DJ mixer, a communion/offering table, and a big steeple with a Pirate attached to it (not really sure of their thoughts here, but it did look really cool).

What they had in mind at first was to construct a building to make up the church. Honestly, they are not far from how many people see the church. Many would say that the church is a building to go to have services, classes, and events. It’s a place dearly loved by people for many wonderful reasons, but if you limit the Church to a building, you have missed WHO the church is.

As my boys continued to build with their Legos, I heard them say, “Our church needs a preacher!” “Yeah, and a Sunday School teacher!” “Yes, and people to learn and go tell people about Jesus” “And singers too!”

To say that I was proud would be an understatement! My little boys were wading into deep theological truth about the church being so much more than the building we assemble in! As I looked at their Lego creation, I noticed that they paid careful attention to the roles of the members of the church. Each Lego-man and Lego-woman had a specific role to play in the church. As the boys continued to build, the church as a body of people became a clearer reality to them.

The Bible has so much to say about who the church really is. More than a building, a once-a-week service, and community philanthropy resource, the Church is the family of God, people who have believed on Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives. The church is the largest family of people in the world. The church consists of everyone, everywhere, who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians that, “We are all baptized into one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free.” Upon believing on Jesus Christ as Savior, and receiving His free gift of salvation, you were made a part of His body, the Church.

The foundation of the church is Jesus Christ. The function of the church is to glorify God through its members. The church comes together for worship, grows together through fellowship, builds one another up in teaching and preaching of God’s Word, and goes together through sharing the Gospel with others and ministering to others with the love of Jesus Christ.

As a pastor of a wonderful group of people, we have some wonderful memories together in our buildings and on our grounds. With the current circumstances that we find ourselves, I cannot begin to tell you how much I miss being with the people of Midway Baptist Church. I miss everything about our gathering together. Sure, we have online services, prayer groups, virtual Sunday School classes, mail-out lessons and videos for families to enjoy at home in these times. We’ve even seen where some churches are having drive-in styled services in their parking lots. I love the creativity and the attempt to somewhat “be together,” but none of these are even close to a replacement to the real gathering of the body of Christ. Being able to physically gather with our people, talk to them face to face, stay awhile, catch up, fellowship, share a meal together, celebrate God’s work in and through their lives, and build one another up with God’s Word are some of the many reasons why this time is especially hard. While we wait, the longing to be together intensifies. What I am praying for, especially in the area I serve and minister, is for genuine revival that has an impact infinitely longer and greater than this pandemic ever had!

We need the church. We are a part of one another, and our spiritual well-being depends on our connection with Christ through His body, the church. But even more so, our gathering together is only a launching pad for the mission ahead. That’s why it’s so important that we learn and understand that the church is far more than the building you and I so love to meet and worship in. The church is the people of God on mission to make our Savior, Jesus Christ, known throughout the world. Greater than the seating capacity, the church should be most concerned about their sending capacity. While it is a wonderful, indescribable truth that we were saved from God’s wrath and forgiven of our sins, we were also saved to be sent to share with others the Gospel so that disciples could be made, and lives be changed for the glory of God.

In this time of crisis, uncertainty, and fear, the Church must continue to leave the building! I encourage you today to make the most of the time. Love your neighbors, extend loving care to those around you by meeting needs that arise, pray for one another, continue to support your local church financially so that ministry can still be accomplished through missions locally and internationally, and as you have opportunity, share the Gospel. And when you and I do get to come back together in person for worship services, Sunday School classes, gatherings, and the like, may we continue to be the church on mission.

Thank you, Micah and Malachi, for an important lesson on who the Church really is.

I am praying for you, Polk County. Greater things have yet to come. Greater things are still to be done.

Question or comments? Contact Peter at

Submitted by Pastor Peter McDonald peter.mcdonald@mwbaptist.org.