Today if you drive through the cities and towns of our nation you will see many differences, but you will also see many similarities. If the places you examine are still surviving there will be places to eat, places to shop, and places to worship. Yes, there’s no lack of these three things in places that has any life in them. As you exit those cities and towns the places to eat and shop will diminish, but you will still notice many places to worship. In our culture we call those places to worship a “church.”
As a matter of fact, it is absolutely incredible to know how many churches we have in our nation today. According to recent studies there are at least 300,000 churches in the United States. We know that 65% of American churches have a weekly attendance of less than 100 people, including children. On a global scale there are 228 million Christians in the world which includes active and non-active believers when it comes to “the church.” One would think with all this Christian light the world wouldn’t be so dark. However, the reality is although many claim to be “Christian” very few are actually working together with their “church.”
I believe that many Christians today have a very distorted view about “the church.” I love the fact that the Apostle Paul calls “the church” the “Body of Christ” in 1 Corinthians 12. I believe we get a much clearer view of what God intended for “His church” to be verses what “the church” is today. According to quora.com, the estimated number of church buildings accommodating Christian congregations is approximately 37 million. That’s one for every 65 people. The same website indicates that there are 34,000 Christian denominations in the world. Now we understand why Jesus prayed for His followers to be “one” in John 17:20-23! We have done a poor job at answering that prayer by being so divided by so many trivial issues. You see the Body of Christ has nothing to do with the facility architecture, the seating style, the worship style, or the format of the worship service. Too often we’ve measured the success of our churches by their seating capacity when it should be by their sending capacity. The church is often measured by who’s sitting, rather than who’s serving! This is a sad by relevant issue that needs to be addressed in the “Body Of Christ” today. If believers can’t learn to function together as “one” body how will the body of Christ ever reach the world? It’s time to realize that we have an individual responsibility to work together for the glory of God in this world, and willingly function with the Body of Christ. Paul said it this way, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27
Each one of us is locally and universally “a part” of the Body of Christ aka “the church.” It’s high time to remember that Christ is the Head of that body. Only Christ can lead us to unity and victory. Only Christ should do the thinking for the rest of “the body.” If we will let that happen we will see a move of God like we’ve never seen before. The fragmented and inactive “church” will become “one” and the light in our cities, towns, nation, and world will dispel the darkness. However, it can only occur if we willingly do our part.
Paul also wrote in Ephesians 4:16 “He (Christ) makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” I believe more now than ever we need to come together, and work together in love as the universal “Body of Christ.” We need to put down the divisions we’ve accepted or created, and come together as one to fight the real enemy. In the words of Keith Green, “the world is lost in a battle that it just can’t fight, because the church is asleep in the light.” It’s time for the sleeping giant called the church to wake up, and fight this battle together as the Body Of Christ! It’s time to be the church! This Sunday at South Side we will continue our series entitled “Your Part Matters.” Be sure to come early, and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee and snack at Café Connect. We have child care, and children’s classes for all ages. Also, South Side offers two worship times being 8:30 & 10:45. We hope to see you there!
South Side Church of Christ