If I have said it once I’ve said it a thousand times…
THE CHURCH ISN’T A BUILDING.
And yet what are we stuck in the habit of calling the facility we lease at 11570 San Jose Blvd?
You guessed it… a church.
Examples of how we mis-use this word abound. Here are a few examples:
“I’ve got to run by the church to pick up something.”
“How about we meet up at the church?”
“It’s near our church.”
And on and on it goes.
Our words are not matching our beliefs. We are believing one thing in our minds and saying something different with our mouths.
I’ve been asked more than once, “Why are you making such a big deal about this?”
Because words matter. Everywhere you look words matter. Right now in the United States of America there are certain words that will absolutely bring about the ruin of you life if you say them. People get fired from their jobs every day in America for uttering the wrong word or words. People get canceled because they slipped up and committed the culturally unforgivable sin of saying a politically incorrect word.
Every time I refer to our facility as “our church” I am, even if unintentionally, reinforcing an unbiblical view of Christ’s church that is prevalent in our culture.
One of our objectives at Harvest is to change the way people think about Christ, Christians, and the Church. This is one of the ways we can help advance that cause.
The Word CHURCH in the New Testament
We KNOW in our minds the truth about how the word church is used in the New Testament…
A – The church is the people of God redeemed by the blood of Jesus.
The vast majority of the uses of the word church in the New Testament fit this definition. This use of the word church is used to refer to both a local group of Christians or the “universal” church of all Christians of all times in history.
B – The church is an assembly (a gathering) of God’s redeemed people (even if it is only 2-3 people).
Wrong Ways to Use the Word CHURCH
But here are some ways the word church is used today that are biblically indefensible: the church is a non-profit organization, the church is the clergy, the church is a denomination, and, most common, the church is a physical building or campus of buildings.
It is never used in the Bible to refer to a non-profit organization.
It is never used in the Bible to refer to the clergy (Merriam-Webster: “the clergy or officialdom of a religious body”).
It is never used in the Bible to refer to a denomination.
It is never used in the Bible to refer to a building (Merriam-Webster: “a building for public and especially Christian worship”).
MINDING OUR LANGUAGE
So we would be wise to stop using the church to refer to a building, a denomination, a non-profit organization, or the clergy of a religious body.
Let’s be biblical with our language about the church. It really does matter.
In order to overcome a bad habit, it’s good to replace it with a good habit. Fill the void with something more appropriate. That is why Harvest Jacksonville is looking to come up with a name for our facility.
Next week we will be revealing a long list of all the suggested name possibilities for our facility. Pray that God gives wisdom to our elders as we select a name. Thanks for your interest!