So where’s the Church?

Avatar Andy B | 06/05/2021 4 Views 0 Likes 0 Ratings

What now? Graffiti on wall

So where’s the Church?

Lockdown craziness has affected us all. Truly, the world will never be the same again!

Covid 19

I’ve seen churches face the challenge head on, and do the very best they can to continue to build God’s Kingdom where they are. They delivered food, supported local charities – even setting up new ones, knocked on doors to check on the vulnerable, set up telephone chains for support, posted DVDs, cassette tapes and CDs of services to people with no digital access.

They adapted quickly and compassionately to serve their communities.

Meanwhile, workers started working from home for the first time; businesses and organisations, large or small, protected their ability to function. Many companies have said that, where possible, they will allow their staff to carry on working from home – due to cost savings for them, and improved work/life balance for their staff.

So where’s the Church?

Covid-19 was an understandable shock to so many who were not prepared to stop meeting on Sunday mornings in a fixed, physical location. And with aging church congregations across the UK, it was no wonder that many struggled with the need to have or employ suitable technology for their church family.

Vicars setting themselves on fire with candles became the new viral craze, or Priests who accidentally gave themselves a funny hat or a light sabre by clicking a wrong button!

Some churches gave up meeting altogether, stating that “we won’t meet together until we can all meet together”.

church pews

When Jesus delivered His Sermon on the Mount, He already knew about Covid-19. Moreover, the church of Jesus Christ already knew how to function under duress. Just take a brief glimpse at churches in closed countries like China or N Korea and you can see how it truly is possible for churches to function, even without a pre-arranged venue or set time.

It’s nothing new, so we should have been more than ready!

We’re not endowed with the burden of wealth!

On three occasions in the last ten years, we’ve helped people in need, where their [more] local Church seemed to have failed to meet their very real and immediate needs:

  1. A thriving church, with a multi-million-pound building and renovation project had ignored the requests of a long serving member of their congregation. Sudden unemployment had left this dear friend with no heating, no food and little hope.

    We heard of her struggles when she said she needed prayer, knowing not what else she could do when her Church said there was nothing they could do.

    We were at her home her the next day, a 90-minute drive away, having emptied our cupboards into our car; stopping at a supermarket for more food, and using our last £20 as cash for their electricity meter.

    So where was the church?
  2. A friend was always helping everybody he knew with his time and resources. Generous doesn’t come close to describing his heart for people he knew who needed his help.

    I helped him with a job at his house, that he couldn’t do himself – a few hours of my time.

    I wondered where the folks from his own church were, who knew of him, had been helped by him, and knew of his struggles.

    So where was the church?
  3. A friend needed some help with some things they had neither the physical, or financial ability, to sort on their own.

    We contributed some of our time and got things up to speed for them.

    But since many of their own church knew of their situation so very well, where were the other offers of help with something they’d been struggling for many months.

    So where was the church?

You could easily argue that we are the church – as a family – and you’d be right!

Each time we helped people it meant no small effort on our part, but there were others who could have far more easily offered the same help we did; those who were more able; those who were more local and more knowing.

Let me turn this around!

One time, a dear friend sent me a message saying the Holy Spirit had told him that we were struggling to buy food.

We were!

empty plate

We had just a couple of meals left in the cupboards for this family of five mouths, with no job between us and no money.

He said he also believed that the Holy Spirit had already prompted somebody more local to help us, but that they had failed to do it: he brought a car full of food for us as we were tucking into our last meal the very next day.

Every day is a learning day!

learning and education

Through Covid-19 we’ve seen church families literally being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ for the people ‘in their orbit’, and we’ve heard of churches growing and thriving as their numbers and giving grew, when their church building was closed.

We’ve seen people use Covid-19 to their advantage – as a hook to continue to build God’s kingdom in ever more creative ways.

And isn’t this what Jesus did, time and again – using creativity to meet the needs of those He met, and ‘be the gospel’; to literally ‘be the church’?

Jesus frequently rolled up his sleeves and simply mucked in with people who needed Him: He got very messily involved, whether it was having a meal with them in their home, or showing how much He valued them in a crowd!

So are we willing to do the same?

Are we willing to be the church, wherever we are?

Are we willing to sacrifice of ourselves to those God has put in front of us or are we more interested in just ‘doing church’ in the comfort and confines of a Sunday morning Church Service?

Are we willing to do whatever we can, wherever we are, with whatever we have?

Andy B, Spring 2020

Because that is what being the church is all about. Not just doing church, but Being the Church, right where we are.

Perhaps this is why churches shut down during Covid. Perhaps we’ve spent too long getting better at ‘doing church’, when Jesus is simply calling us to ‘be the church’.

James 1:27 (ESV)
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

We can very easily ‘be the church’ and “keep [ourselves] unstained from the world”. Jesus did it, and He promised us that we can do greater things than He did!

What's worth standing up for?

So where is the Church?

Well if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, then the church is already reading these words.

reflection in a mirror, black and white

So let’s do church, and worship in Spirit and Truth as we meet together in our homes, in church buildings, in the park, in a coffee shop, in the fields, in schools and in offices.

But let’s be the church too! And serve those in our orbit with as much love and compassion as Jesus served us with, and continues to serve us with – by the power of His Holy Spirit.

Andy B

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Written by Andy B


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