Here’s What Church Really Is
Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. Colossians 4:15
Many of us picture church as a building – a place where people meet to sing, worship, listen to teaching, and hopefully, eat. But church isn’t defined by a place, it’s a community. The church is a global network of all people who put their faith in Jesus, even though a member in Somalia may never meet or know a member in Mongolia.
The English word church is rooted in the Greek word kuriakos, which means “belonging to the Lord.” We share belonging as children of God alongside Jesus and therefore we are sisters and brothers with all God’s other children! Here’s another sign of what makes a church: Some of the earliest communities of worshipers were known as the “called-out-ones” because they had been called out of their ways of destruction and selfishness to follow Jesus. That’s a powerful legacy!
Early churches usually met in private homes, as many still do today. Church is personal. The Apostles wrote letters to these groups, often referring to members by name as their brothers and sisters and addressing the meeting home hosts by name. These called-out-ones often faced gruesome persecution for defying the idolatry of their cultures, but their numbers grew as they supported one another through every struggle. This is a history that repeats itself to this day.
Remember Jesus’ words: “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20). And when two or three come together in Jesus’ name, you have a church.
Resource reading: Ephesians 1:1-14