Our Story blog

What the church is and what we think it ought to be may be very different things. As we learned at the first mention of the word translated “church” in the book of Acts (5:11), it simply meant “gathering.” It had no religious implications to it. There was no geographical or institutional baggage that went along with it. Church was simply a gathering of people who shared a common identity and purpose. In this case they were all followers of Jesus who were doing what he told them to do – be his witnesses.

Chapters five and six of Acts provide even greater detail on this mysterious movement. Being the church can be demanding. In fact, it was downright dangerous for some. The Apostles were threatened and flogged by the Jewish establishment. And it won’t be long that persecution becomes the norm for this gathering of Christ-followers. So why is it that we would expect “being the church” to not be demanding. Why would we expect it to be easy, comfortable and the path of least resistance. That’s not the example we have in scripture. If there is not some difficult, demanding times, maybe we’re not being the church.

If the demanding detail isn’t difficult enough, try this one on. Being the church can be messy. Yes, even in the early church, there were relational conflicts, excluded parties and awkward conversations (Acts 6:1-7). Being the church is going to be messy if we’re getting close to one another and if we’re reaching out to people far from God. We have to quit expecting it be neat and orderly. We have to quit trying to fit it into a chart. The church is a gathering. It’s a movement. It’s a living organism, not an organization. If it’s not at times messy and uncomfortable for us, maybe we’re not being the church.

As we’ve seen often in Our Story, the church continues to grow. More and more people come to believe in Jesus because the followers of Jesus are deliberate about being his witnesses. The church can be demanding and messy, but it is God’s means of winning his creation back to himself. When you partner with him, you’re the hope of the world!

If you didn’t catch week 5 of Our Story, view it here:

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