What is the definition of the word “church?” Generally we define it as a building used for worship. It is also used to describe organizations such as the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church, or the Southern Baptist Church. But the real essence of a “church” is “people.” In the Bible, the word “church” is translated from the Greek word, ecclesia, meaning a group or assembly of people who have been “called.”
In Matthew 18:20, Jesus says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Nowhere was that more evident than this past week when our Sisters In Faith Bible study started back up. As I looked out over the faces of my sisters gathered around the table, I felt the Lord was so very present in the energy of our Spirit-filled group. In our little “village” of God’s Kingdom, we care deeply for each other, know each other by name and pray for each other’s personal and individual needs.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he addresses many small groups of believers as “churches” and in 16:5 he says, “Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus…Greet also the church in their home.” It lifts my spirit to think of our little band of believers meeting like the early Christians to encourage and build each other up as we seek out the heart of our God in His Word.
Sunday worship is wonderful, particularly if you carry the Gospel of the day in your heart and let it guide your thoughts, words and actions throughout the week. Christianity is a way of life based on Jesus and His teachings and we are meant to mirror His goodness and grace each and every day. Giving Him an hour or two just one day a week deprives us of the deeper faith and closer relationship with the Lord that we are called to.
I would encourage you to consider a fellowship group as well as Sunday church attendance, because there is something very special about a smaller group of believers who, “bear with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:3) Daily I praise and thank God for my Sisters in Faith. We are strongest when joined together as one heart for one body and one Spirit, and as we journey together we are devoted to each other and support each other, and keep each other focused on our one “hope” that is eternal life with God in resurrection glory!