The word “Church” carries a weight to it. Whether it’s referencing a building, a systemic structure, a culture, a group of people, or something else, the word has baggage for many.
In 2020, we had to get back to what church is all about: It isn’t a building. It isn’t a governing body. It isn’t an organisation. The Church is people.
‘The word for church in the New Testament (ecclesia) means a gathering or assembly. It’s used to refer to local gatherings of believers (e.g. in Corinth) as well as all believers everywhere – the worldwide church.
So taking this view, where the Church is a gathering of believers, who’s to say what that gathering looks like? What elements are required for a Church – other than a group of believers? Acts 2 shows us what the very first church plant looked like:
42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Teaching. Fellowship. Eating. Prayer. Signs and Wonders. Generous living. Praise. Mission and Evangelism.
The early believers met in different ways and at different times – in the temple, in homes, in upper rooms. They were excited to be meeting, with their joy overflowing into praise, and into the lives of those around them, and devoted to meeting on Sundays to celebrate the resurrection.
So in Australia, right now, what is Church?
It’s what it’s always been: followers of Jesus gathering, learning, growing, praising, praying, sharing – together.
When, where and how this happens is up for grabs though – in large gatherings at a central location; in digital spaces; in smaller gatherings dispersed throughout Melbourne.
This is our vision for Three Kinds of Worship Gatherings. In-Person Services, a Digital Service, and Home Hubs. Different worship gatherings, with different styles, but remaining united in focusing on Jesus.
For more on our vision for Three Ways to Gather for Worship, check out these resources: