I was listening to a podcast of the Brant and Sherry Oddcast while I was working from home when Brant posed a very interesting question that has been on my mind a lot lately: can a church go out of business?
I say no.
First of all, the church isn’t a business. It’s not a brick and mortar building or a location or an event that takes place once or twice a week.
The church is a community of the people of God who together make an invisible God visible to the world by displaying His grace and mercy and love.
That can never go out of business.
The church may lose its building and possessions, but as long as the people of God remain committed to community centered around the gospel of Jesus Christ, then the real church will survive.
But when the people of God lose their focus and their mission, then they cease to be the church. When they become just another social justice organization or charitable group, then they might as well all go home and give to the existing local charities.
But when God’s people gather in God’s name to do God’s work in God’s way, that’s when the power comes. That’s when they can do more together than they ever could apart. That’s when Jesus said they would do greater works than He did (see John 14:12).
Even if there are only a few gathered together in the name of Jesus, it is still Church. It only takes two or more.
I read the New Testament and see a very different kind of church than I see in most American cities. I see where each member participated and shared as God led instead of sitting passively in rows being spoon-fed by a dynamic preacher.
Maybe this time of COVID-19 will be the catalyst to bring about the return of the true New Testament Church where we remember and reclaim the promises that we are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) and a kingdom and priests (Revelation 5:10). We may not all be paid ministers, but we all have a ministry and a testimony and a calling.
Church is family. As I heard it said, even if the family business goes under, they don’t stop being a family. So we as a people of God adopted by Jesus can never stop being the family of God.