Twice a year, the congregation where I serve does an event called “The Church Has Left The Building.” This coming Sunday is one of those days. We will meet for a shortened time of praise and worship, then leave to go tackle various service projects in our area.
Why do we do it on Sunday morning? Mainly because we know that most of our regular church attenders do not have scheduling conflicts. It’s been on their calendar for weeks, or years, to go to church on Sunday. If the event was scheduled on Saturday, practically speaking, it may interfere with sports or other family events. It’s also a great opportunity to get out and meet people who do not typically attend a church function on Sunday morning.
It’s funny, isn’t it? Thinking about “the Church Has Left The Building.” The first time I heard that phrase it caught me off guard. Isn’t that a paradox, like “jumbo shrimp” ? Growing up going to church every Sunday, “church” was a place, a building. We went to Sunday School and then to the service. But it was all at a location that was about 20 minutes from our home. And we said we were “going to church.”
But then, about 15 years ago, my pastor at the time introduced the congregation to “the building” — the four walls and the floor and the ceiling — and he called us, the people in the chairs, “the Church.” Me? “The Church?” God bless Pastor Barry Tucker at Valleyview Church for speaking into our lives and showing every one of us the way Jesus sees us! By 2011, in this day of “the emerging church” you have probably heard it repeated often: YOU are “the Church.”