Do you remember the little hand play that children do while saying, "Here is the church. Here is the steeple. Open the door, and see all the people"? I remember being fascinated with this little saying as a child. I spent countless hours sitting in Sunday morning church service saying the little ditty in my head while making my fingers do the coordinating motions.
Now that I am all grown up I am faced with a much larger quandary. Jesus told us that He will build His church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I believe that with every being of my fiber. I know he was talking about the universal church. But what about the local church? What is the local church suppose to look like? I believe the local churches make up the universal church that Jesus was referring to in the above scripture.
Michael and I have held an idealistic view where local church life is concerned. We believe that there is something so much more to church life than being spectators while one man shares his thoughts. I envision more of a community or better yet a family of believers where everybody has something to contribute. The analogy that always comes to my mind is spaghetti sauce. (Stay with me here just for a minute). If all you put into spaghetti sauce is just one spice, then it really isn't spaghetti is it? I need many different spices added to the sauce and I need to let the flavors meld during cooking. This is how to get a perfect sauce. So why is church any different?
I look back in the New Testament and I would love to be part of a church family like I see depicted in the pages of the Bible. Often times they met in homes and broke bread with one another. Our American churches are not structured like that for the most part. I have often said I would like to be Amish. I like the communities that they are a part of, and I like the lifestyle. However I don't believe the same doctrinally as they do so that isn't a possibility for me. (As a sidebar, I do enjoy the convenience of electricity VERY much)!
So the question for us is what does a family do about having idealistic views of church life? We have tried to be a part of establishing a few new churches in our area. This hasn't worked for several reasons. One of the reasons is our children. They want a church who has other children and other activities to be a part of. I understand this longing. I too want to be part of a body that has people that I can relate to. We have tried doing home church. Again that didn't work for the above reason, and we also felt isolated from other believers. We are torn between our ideals and our every day reality. We are at a place of putting our ideals on the the back burner and embracing a church that is structured more traditionally. We know the Lord brought us here so He has to have a church for us to be a part of. We are continuing our quest of finding the local church body that God has FOR us. Or maybe I should word it that we are continuing our quest of finding the local church body that God has US for.
grace and peace,