The greatest need of the day is for the church to be the Church. The Apostle Peter wrote: “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood”; and as such a holy priesthood we are to “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:5, 9, NIV).
Peter’s words remind us that the focus of the New Testament is not on a building, no matter how essential or beautiful such a facility may be. It is also not to focus on an ordained clergy, however well-trained or helpful they may be, but rather on people as “the priesthood of all believers,” the Body of Christ. Reread that second chapter of Peter’s letter and you will notice how significant the role of the corporate body must be if the Church is to be the Church.
If being a follower of Jesus only means going to church, we have not only misrepresented the Gospel, but we have given others little reason even to want to come to church with us.
A number of years ago, it was predicted that with technology we were going to become a nation of leisure, since we would be able to accomplish our work more quickly and more efficiently. It would be hard to convince most of us that it has. We all seem to be busier than ever, and people feel they are pushed to the limit! So who needs something else? Going to church is not, in and of itself, an attractive invitation and going with any regularity is even less attractive, as many within churches demonstrate.
However, if discipleship means being Church, and this being makes a great deal of difference in becoming the persons we ought to be, then there is reason for getting up and going. Could this not establish happy marriages and stable homes, transform society into a better place to live, and on top of all this, give us the hope of eternal life with a loving and gracious God? William B. Coker, Sr.