I often find myself asking people “Do you have a church?” A much better question would be “Who is your church?” If church is really about people and caring relationships not just buildings and institutional structures, then you could be a member of a church without having a church if you are not connected with anyone at your church. Or you could never have darkened the door of a church building and still have a strong church (as many of our friends around the world who meet in secret for Christian worship out of fear of persecution demonstrate).
As a pastor, my role is to help us all be church for one another. And as a pastor, I often wonder (as many pastors do), “Who will be church for me?” More than I need a job in the church, more than I need my name on a roll, more than I need a building where I can come to worship, I need people who are committed to being church for me just as I am for them.
I need people to care about how my life is going, but to care more how my soul is doing. I need people who will invite me into their lives and give me the chance to make a few mistakes in our relationship without kicking me out. I need people who will encourage me to use my talents and resources to serve God and discourage me from becoming more infatuated with my ability to serve than I am with God’s infinite ability to love.
Have you ever experienced church? If you have I imagine you can easily understand why this crazy, beautiful, imperfect thing we can call church was Jesus’ idea. If you haven’t, please don’t discouraged by previous churches who failed to be church. All churches fail to be church to some extent. I can’t tell you exactly where you will find church. All I can tell you is that when you do it will be worth the journey.