I recently finished reading my first book of 2015: Deep & Wide, creating churches unchurched people love to attend, by Andy Stanley.
Overall impression and review of the book: Mind. Blown.
Pastor Andy poses a pair of questions early on in the book that I took time to journal my answers to. Here are the questions and my thoughts and convictions about each:
- What is the church? The church is God’s people, the body of believers. The word “gathering” keeps coming to mind. The church is, in part, the local gathering of the local body of believers. It is both global and local .It is the manifestation of God here on earth. Christ is The Head. Pastors are its under-shepherds. The church is people. It is also a place. But the former is more important than the latter. The church is God’s vehicle and change agent to reach the lost world. It is the means by which God is glorified and made known in the world. The church worships. The church missions and moves. It is a living and breathing organism that reflects Jesus as it is the body of Christ. The church is God the Father, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit to a world that has no idea who God is. The church is a people and a place for people to belong to. As Jesus existed as God in the flesh, so the church exists as His physical expression today bringing to life and tangibly expressing the unseen God to an unbelieving world. The church is God’s expression of Himself to the world.
- Who is it for? Church is for the believer. It is a place of gathering, encouragement, training, equipping, corporate expression of worship, demonstration of unity, and where God’s word is taught and preached. Church is for the unbeliever. They should feel drawn into the body, curious by our love for each other, hungry for the hope that is proclaimed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God draws them to Himself through the church. It is for the lost as well as the found. The church is for God. It is His expression of Himself for His mission…for His purposes…for His glory! It is His tool, His resource, His creation to use as He sees fit. The church is His people.
My prayer is that we – the Rising Church – will be a church that is for the believer…the unbeliever…and for the Lord!
What is the church to you? Who do you say the church is for?