I’ve been “in the church” for as long as I can remember; I praise God that I was raised by Christian parents who made sure that not only did we attend but we also served as part of the church family. However, when I began studying ministry at the Bible college, I began to notice a distinct difference between “doing church” and “being the church.” It sounds strange, but the difference is a matter of how we do things in or through the church—specifically our programs, events, and even worship services—versus how we live as individual Christians and as members of the body of Christ.
Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to focus on programs, schedules, budgets, and materials than it is to focus on people, relationships, and spiritual growth. You know what people are like; relationships are messy. Spiritual growth is difficult to evaluate and measure, and when we try, we often find out how messy relationships can be. However, Jesus didn’t come to establish programs; he came to bring life, abundant life (John 10:10), and it’s our responsibility to share that life with others (Philippians 2:16).
I know how easy it is to focus on “doing church,” and I know how difficult it is being the church. But as we continue in this new adventure, consider Paul’s words in Galatians 6:9, 10 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Our programs are extensions of who we are as God’s family, but they should not define us. Jesus said that the world would know his disciples by the way we love each other (John 13:35). We have to hold each other accountable for keeping track of who’s missing from our programs and make sure that they’re not hurting or getting lost. We must not get too inwardly focused, but we must make sure that we’re taking care of our church family. Then we will develop the heart and habits necessary to take care of others. Then the world will know that we are Jesus’ disciples.