What Makes Us a Church
Introduction: Look around you this morning. What do you see? On the surface, it might appear that we have a lot in common. Most of live in the same town or reasonably close. If sociologists were to survey us, they would place most of us in the same socio-economic category. There are very few racial or ethnic differences. We dress pretty much the same. We talk alike. We share a lot in common.
Those surface similarities can be deceiving. In this room, you can find many differences. Men and women, young and old, farmers and town folk, those fairly well off and some barely getting by. Many are college educated. Some never finished high school. Most are married. A number have been divorced. Some have never been married. Some have been good friends for years. Others are complete strangers to each other. The differences are many. Our politics differ. Musical tastes differ. Then there are the real differences. Most of you are Cardinal fans. Some of us are Cub fans. OK, I know! One of us is a Cub fan!
Our religious backgrounds also differ. Some of you have been a part of this congregation since the day you were born. Others are newcomers to this church. Others spent most of their lives in one denomination or another. Still others are newcomers to church, period. Some know the Bible inside and out. Others are genuine rookies when it comes to understanding the Bible. Most are true believers and have been for years. Others are skeptical about many things. They may not often voice their doubts, but they are there.
Here's the question. How can a diverse group of people from many different backgrounds and perspectives with a wide variety of personalities and preferences be a church? My assumption is this--a church is more than a crowd. A crowd gathers for a performance, enjoys the experience together, and goes their separate ways. A church--if we are to go by Jesus' descriptions ...
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