Church is not a building. I know we say this and think we understand it, but let me repeat it – as they say – “for those in the back”: Church is not a building.
Church are people. The well-being of people ought to be the point of church.
Yes, I can definitely see an argument in the different ways to keep the marketplace open for the welfare of people, but biblically, you can’t fight for the gathering of church by any more than two or three people. No place in Scripture is there such a mandate. You may be fighting on behalf of your Pastor or congregation, but you are never doing that on behalf of Jesus.
I think part of the reason why we are up in arms about this is because we church folk are underdeveloped in this area. We have become so obsessed with Pastoral celebrity culture and spiritual consumerism that we don’t see meeting together in our homes and neighborhoods as sufficing for the call to “never stop meeting together as some are in the habit of doing.”
But here, in this COVID season, we have some theological thinking to do, some maturing even.
If church is a building then you reduce yourself to bricks and cement, njerwa ndi matope (brick and mortar). But if “you are the temple” in which the Holy Spirit dwells, then in a strange kind of way you don’t go to church to meet God there but you bring God to church. I know… I know. That is hard for us to think about. But it comes along with many theological territories that you and I need to grow in. We can’t be in Sunday school forever.
God does not dwell in houses made by man. That’s His word not mine. The ark was for you, the temple was for you; and now the nice brick and cement and pews are important but they are not for God. They are for you.
Prioritize what God says to prioritize. To love Him is not to insist on putting others in danger. To love God is to worship Him neither in this building nor that but in spirit and truth; and it is to love God’s other children.
Then there’s the issue of the offering. I think the next reform of the church needs to involve this. There’s so much immaturity in this area which I believe is not only detrimental for the church goer but also toxic for Pastors.
If we refuse to have a mature conversation in this area, Pastors will always be reduced to circus clowns dancing for money. I believe it is important that people that are developed in this area start addressing this issue on behalf of Pastors. Scaring or coaxing people to give one month at a time is not a discipleship strategy.
I believe that mature believers will find a way to give in this season and they’ll not wait for the dirty tactics of the church to do so. And if people don’t see that as a value, we ought to wonder what we have been doing to our congregations from a discipleship perspective.
Church is not a building because you are not njerwa and matope.
Let’s discuss this at our next bible study.
Your Resident Theologian,