A few years ago when I served another church, one of our younger members asked if he could come interview me as part of his requirement for his Boy Scout "God and Country" award. He said he needed to come by and ask me some questions about "the church." I looked forward to sitting down and fielding his questions about how we organize the church, our church history, and our mission. His first question was this: "How high is the steeple?" I have to confess, I did not know the answer to that question. As he ticked down his list of questions, I quickly realized that for him, "church" meant "building." Maybe we all think of the church in that way from time to time.
How would you define "church?" And what do you think is the purpose of the church? Today, some of us are struggling with basic questions such as these -- perhaps wondering what the church should and should not be doing. So, in order help us think about what it means to be the church, I am starting a new series of messages asking the question, What does it means to be the church? For six weeks we will talk about the purpose of the church using some insights that have been around for a while. If you are wrestling with what the church should and should not be about, then I urge you to come this Sunday -- and invite a friend to join you.
I like the children's song that offers one set of answers to the question, What is the church? Some of the lyrics go this way:
I am the church! You are the church!
We are the church together!
All who follow Jesus,
all around the world!
Yes, we're the church together!
The church is not a building;
the church is not a steeple;
the church is not a resting place;
the church is a people.
Today, I invite you to give thanks for all the people who are called by God to be the church.