I drove by a church building in a different city the other day and it had been remade into a cat shelter.  I drove a little farther and passed another old church that was no functioning as a barn.  I passed a third and it too was not a “church” anymore.  I was feeling kind of down about it but then I sensed in my spirit that this was of him.  God is in the business of redefining “church” as we know it.  In fact, I believe there will be many more foreclosures and closings in general but this is not a sign to get discouraged, but a season to embrace the new yet old understanding of church.  Because church as we know it doesn’t look like “church” as it is in Scripture, at least structurally.
I read this in Scripture:

1 Cor14:26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up

and this:

1 Cor12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

I read in the Scripture about a church that the body shares with other members of the body in such a way as that there is mutual edification and encouragement.  Is this what I experience?

I have the privilege of attending a church where the minister preaches the Word of God, is faithful to Him, the church is filled with people who really love the Lord, etc… In fact, we don’t even have a building so we can put our money into people, not buildings.  I am blessed with all these.  And yet…

And yet when I “go to church” it is an entirely passive experience.  I sit and listen.  I sing then listen.  I go to Bible study and listen.  If I want to share something it better fit in to 10 seconds or less during announcements.  It’s easy to just say hi to a few people and then slip out.  Passive.  Totally and completely.  At most being “active” is sharing a special song.  I don’t sing well.

Yet this is not the church I read about in Scripture.  I read about people sharing words, testimonies, receiving healing, prayers, etc…  Yes, they needed some order, but I read about a body that ministers to each other.  Current “church” is one man ministering to everyone.  For the most part.  And we miss out.  Miss out on hearing from others, miss out on sharing with others.  No one man can be the body.  We do have a responsibility to reach out individually, but “church” as I read it in Scripture is also a corporate sharing.

I do believe “church” is being redefined and that is of God.  I think this is why buildings are closing up shop.  But how the redefined church will look like I do not yet know.   But I hope it looks a little bit more like we read in the verses above.  Church is about relationships.  And right now, it’s easy to get lost in the quiet.

PS–I read a book this week called “Interrupted” by Jen Hatmaker.  I like how they “do church” down there in Austin.  A good read for any new church planter.