When you describe your Sunday morning plans have you ever respond with, “going to church?”
Have you ever told your kid to get ready for “church”?
At a gathering of church leaders, put on by The Parish Collective, one simple idea struck me. Most of the time when when Christians talk about church what we’re really referring to the church building. Ultimately the church is a description of the people gathered around a shared identity. Lately, I’m wondering if the language we use defies our beliefs: ‘the church’ is is not the steeple and not the people. That’s not biblical.
Our language needs a profound yet subtle adjustment.
(This is a particularly useful and important exercise to instil young people start telling a different story about their church.)
Here’s the idea, when referring to ‘church’ simply add building to the mix. Or, simply call your Sunday attendance to the service just that, “going to service”.
“Get ready Billy, we’re going to the church building.”
“What are you doing tomorrow?”
“I’ll be at service in the morning.”
This simple addition permits the physical location to lose prominence. The distinction will help clarify who (community), and not what (building), is of importance.
(By the way, if you want to borrow the book ‘The New Parish‘ the church has a copy.)