Today’s Reading: Romans 15:23-16:9
A mega-church in Vista, California made headlines when they cancelled all of their worship services over the weekend. Rather than meeting together in an air-conditioned sanctuary, North Coast Church closed its doors for what they called a “Weekend of Service,” providing churchgoers the opportunity to actually show the love of Jesus in their community.
Of the 7,000 believers who attend North Coast Church, over 5,500 of them showed up Sunday morning to live out their commitment as they tackled 139 community service projects at 70 different sites all throughout North San Diego County.
Pastor Larry Osborne, who is the senior pastor of the church, said, “Our weekly service projects and our Weekend of Service is simply one more way to help our members understand that church is what we are, not just something we go to… What we tell people is—this week, we’re going to be the church instead of just going to church.”
There are simply far too many Christians out there who have this mistaken belief that church is just something that you go to for sixty minutes on Sunday morning (assuming the preacher doesn’t go over-time). The truth is—you don’t go to church; you are the church! The church isn’t a place; it’s people! Jesus said… “You are the salt of the earth.” (Matthew 5:13); “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14); “You are…a city set on a hill.” (Matthew 5:14)
You are the church! It’s up to us (you and me) to be the mouth, the hands, and the feet of Jesus—to be the church! Of course, getting involved in the community and doing service projects—like the folks at North Coast Church—is only part of what it means to be the church. Being the church also means being like Jesus, being a part of God’s family and giving of ourselves and our means.
Phoebe whom Paul so highly commended in today’s reading shone as a light for Jesus, the “Light of the World”!
Church isn’t something that opens or closes with a prayer. Church isn’t just something you attend; it’s something you are. Church isn’t a place; it’s people. What does it mean to “be the church”? Well, if Phoebe give us anything to go by, it means being a sister—a vital part of God’s household, fashioned for God’s family, a saint—created to become like Christ and learning to have a heart like his, and a servant—made for ministry and willing to help out. So whatever you do, wherever you go, whether it’s Sunday, Saturday or any day in-between—remember to be the church.