Last night at Merge 9/16

What do you think of when you hear church? Go on think about it…What comes to mind?

Now how would you define church to someone who had no clue?

That’s the question that we started with last night. It was interesting to hear students try to articulate this idea of something they have been a part of (for some) their entire lives.

The majority of students answered this question as a place you go. While this technically is true, it is a like to trying to view the grand canyon through a pin hole. They church is so much more than simply a place you go.

Our working definition for our Church series is an assembly of professing believers in Christ who have been baptized and who organize to do God’s will.

The Gospel is the starting point for us becoming the Church. With Christ there can be no church. This is why it’s not possible to love Christ, but hate the church. We looked at the Gospel last week at Merge and I wrote a blog post about it that you can find here.

After defining what the church is we looked at several characteristics that each church must have to be a church and then looked at two very important distinctions:
1) The Universal Church-all believers and only believers belong to this. It’s also called the Body of Christ
2) The Local Church-a local group of Christians living in a certain place. This is what most people think of when they hear the word church.

It was very important that we define, characterize, and lay out a few distinctions for what the church is, but it took a while. After 25 minutes of speaking I was out of time and had only gone through my intro and 1 of my points. So what was supposed to take 1 week will now stretch to two. But here are the highlights:

Because of Gospel we are part of the body of Christ: 1 Corinthians 12:12, 14-20

This is such an interesting passage because of some of the questions Paul asks. They are funny if you think about them literally, but if you start to apply them to us as the church body it stops being funny.

Some thoughts from the night:
-Just like our physical bodies all parts of the church work together
-When a part of our physical bodies is injured we can still function, but it’s alot harder. The same happens in the church. If we are not all doing our part, the church can function, but no as efficiently.
-If you take a look at your left and right hand, they are similar, but they are also different and they were designed to work together. Same with us in the church. We can share some similarities, but we are also different and in those difference we are designed to work together.
-There many be small parts of the body, but they are important. Think of when you stub your toe, get a paper cut, or an ant bite. These are really small thing, but they can hurt the entire body. The same with where God has placed us in His body. We all make a important contribution to the body, big or small we are all needed.

I’m really excited to see what God is going to do through this series. Here in the south just about every one attends church and thinks that is good enough or fills some spiritual void, but Christ has called us to more than that. He has called us to member of the His body through His church.

Side Note: We have some exciting things going on a Riverland Hills and have really be trying to get people connected with these new opportunities. We have 4 worship service times for you to choose from: Traditional Service (Worship West) meets at 9:00am and 10:15. Our new modern service (Worship East) meets at 10:15 and 11:30.

Next week we’ll look at how We can’t work together if we don’t meet together


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