A little over three and a half years ago my family began a new adventure with church. We had been attending Cornerstone for several years and felt our next step was to join the Lee-Scott Launch team. Little did I know how much it would change my perspective about church.
Most church goers would agree with the statement “Church is not the building; it is the people.” But when you arrive at a building that looks like a church and you go to a service every Sunday called church, it is hard to truly live like you believe church is people. Attending the Lee-Scott site of Cornerstone slowly altered my view. My church was meeting in a school. The location was rarely available except on Sunday mornings. The chairs, toys, supplies, sound equipment, computers, carpets, even wall dividers made their home on carts in trailers during the week. My church was forced to see itself outside the traditional four walls of a building. Church truly became the people.
Church is the set-up/tear-down guys who show up early and stay late so we can have the space we need for worship. Church is friends inviting people into their home for discipleship and a meal. Church is my husband getting mauled by two year olds when we are out to eat because he is their favorite nursery guy. Church is my friend who walks around the city praying. Church is the girls who meet each week on Tuesday to help prep the kids’ lessons for Sunday. Church is the voice of our leadership calling us to the next step of becoming a new plant. Church is another friend who is spending a weekend taking portraits for foster families. Church is a group of six women eating dinner at my house sharing stories of what God is doing in their lives.
If you had attended our gathering this past Sunday morning you would have enjoyed the fact that although the church had hoped to worship together outside, we were flexible enough to alter our plans as God provided rain for his earth. There were children dancing and running up and down the bleachers as we raised our voices in worship. Our pastor took us on a field trip outside to circle around a cow-trough that served as holy ground for baptism. Tears poured down my face as I watched people surround my daughter with grace and beauty as she was baptized. She gets it. She understands church is the people. We have been talking about baptism for a while and when this opportunity came up to be baptized with her people on the first Sunday with our new name, she knew it was where God was calling her to share her belief in Him.
I know as we move forward the building, equipment, or location may change but I am so grateful for God showing me in a tangible way that he is not found in a building. He is found in the hearts, hands, eyes, minds and feet of the people who are serving him. The church is HIS people at work in the world.