If someone was to ask me to define the Church my short answer would be that the Church is any time two believers come together in agreement. We get hung up in all the trappings of how the Church has been defined over the years but over the years the Church has been abused by man. She was used as a tool of power by greedy men who did not have a clue what it meant to be a follower of Jesus Christ. To this day men and women of selfish intent use the Church as a guise to rob sincere people of riches and devotion. However, the Church has little to do with power, or at least as the world defines it, or manipulation, or liturgies, or buildings or even large gatherings. It is a real shame that we remain closed minded and trapped in this thinking when it comes to this beautiful Bride of Christ.
The Church is you and me, as believers, united together in Jesus by the Holy Spirit, coming together for a multitude of reasons. The Church is the small group of people meeting together around someone's kitchen table, discussing the Word of God and how to apply it in their lives. The Church is five friends meeting together at the local food bank to volunteer some time. The Church is a couple of friends meeting with and praying with a person in the hospital. The Church is a husband and wife lifting people up in prayer before turning in for the night. The Church is the Christian youth getting together to shovel the driveways of the elder members of the community. The Church has no walls, no pews, no hymn books; that is what we call a building but the Church is able to use any building, any place for worship.
There is structure in the Church but perhaps not as we have developed it. The Church has spiritual trainers who we often refer to as leaders. But these are not leaders as we understand leaders because these men and women are there to lead as servants. Their responsibility is not to tell people what to do but instead to teach them, demonstrate, help them to grow into maturity. We mistake the Church as a business, with its committees and boards, its executives and its staff. This is what we have made her but it is not what she is. The Church is a family and the spiritual trainers are like parents who do what they must to bring their children into maturity. There is a lot more freedom in the Spirit than what we allow for in our current structure of the Church.
At the end of the passage where Jesus is teaching how to deal with a brother who sins against you and then refuses to repent or make amends, Jesus teaches this fact about the Church :
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)
The Church is not about budgets, planning meetings, social events, building funds, pew sitting, or any of these trappings we have fallen into. The Church is about people; about unity; about coming together; about agreement; about realizing the presence of Jesus with us. The Church has nothing to do with the selfishness of man and everything to do with expanding the Kingdom of God. It has nothing to do with what we can get out of it and everything to do with lifting our hearts to God and reaching out a hand to man. It is about growing the Kingdom not growing the budget. It is about salvation not attendance and other such statistics. It is about the freedom to move with the Spirit, not being barricaded in by walls that keep us in and them out. It is not about power but instead everything to do with service.
Jesus said "anything they ask for". Imagine what could be done if only two or three were to come together in agreement and wage war in prayer against the dark forces over our cities and over our children. Imagine what a difference the Church could really make in this land if we only understood our true nature, purpose and power. "Anything" is what he said. Anything. If only we could break out of these man-made chains and allow the Church to step into her full glory as the Bride of Christ. If only we could realize there is no slave or free, no male or female, no rich or poor, no youth or aged, no Pentecostal or Baptist, no Salvation Army or Alliance, no pews or walls. The is only the Church which is you and me and every other believer who calls on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Together we need to unite for the purpose of Jesus and start asking for "anything" in agreement with each other. Together, let's step into the spiritual maturity we have been longing for:
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)