An Open Home
We Aspire to Be a Family Filled With Love
When you read the word “church,” what comes to mind? For most, the first thing that comes to mind is a building. It might be a little country church with a graveyard where your grandpa is buried. It might be a formal church with a large steeple and imposing architecture. Or it could be a theater-style church you attended in college.
The second thing that comes to mind for most people when they hear the word “church” is a worship service. This is what is most often meant by the question, “Where do you go to church?” The question is asking about the worship service you attend: where is it, when is it, whose brand is on it, etc.
But I believe when someone comes into a church, what they’re most often looking for, whether or not they realize it, is a home. We might think we’re “church shopping” in search of a better worship service or programming for our kids. But in our heart of hearts, we’re really searching for a place to call home, a refuge from the rat race that is the world, a place where we belong.
It’s easy, given our cultural context, to see the church as just another provider of goods and services—spiritual goods and services. Or just another community organizer, like the Red Cross or the Salvation Army. But deep down inside, every follower of Jesus instinctively knows the church is supposed to be their spiritual home, their spiritual family, their community of faith, and the fellowship of believers. There are many compliments that can be paid to a church: “Great preaching!” “Loved the music!” “My kids had a blast!” “That Bible study was super deep!” But, one compliment that outweighs all of those combined is, “This church feels like home.” We’ll put up with mediocre music, boring sermons, and lackluster productions if we feel at home.
Thinking of church in these terms might lead some to accuse family-style churches of being inwardly focused, just another ingrown clique. And, to be fair, many churches are just that. But, if the church is a home, then we as a church want to be an open home. The love for God and one another that fills us was never meant to be hoarded or kept to ourselves. It was meant to overflow and spill over into the lives of everyone we interact with. That’s what draws people to Christ.
Our aim is to be an open home. We believe the church is a spiritual family—God’s household. We aspire to see God’s love so permeate our church family that we are filled with joy and naturally invite others to come and be part of the family. We believe it is the presence of the Holy Spirit, the abundance of our love, the clear application of God’s Word to our lives, the sincerity of our worship, and the power of God in our midst that will bring the lost home.
What do you think of when you hear the word “church?” Do you interact with your church as a family member or a consumer?