If Christianity is only about "going to church," the church is in trouble.
If the church only exists for one hour a week, there are 167 hours that are void of the presence of God's people.
If the church is only in the sanctuary, it's not in the home, on the street, in the workplace, the school, the mall, the prison . . .
If only clergy are qualified to communicate the gospel, the church will be run by the 1% - the graduate-school trained professional, licensed by the completion of a theological masters degree. (Not to knock on the degree. I have one. I am trained and ordained, not to be part of the few, but to serve the many.)
If Christianity is only about "going to the show," it will be dominated by religious rock stars. You will forget your real Pastor, the Senior Pastor, the Chief Shepherd, the head Bishop, Jesus Christ.
Let me be clear. I have a high view of worship, word, and sacraments. Gathering around these things defines us. But we don't stop being the church when we disperse.
Last Sunday was the festival of Pentecost. With wind and fire the Holy Spirit infused a people with power.
Pentecost means the church is the muscle of God on earth.
Pentecost means the church is not the activity of a few priests. Every Christian is empowered for God's work in various ways.
Pentecost means the church is not primarily a strategy, institution, program, model, building, politic, or style. It is is a people, instigated and animated by the Spirit of God.
Pentecost means the early church was not predominantly a movement of the religious class. It was a rag-tag collection of ordinary laborers with Galilean accents. Still today, the church is the ordinary people of God. Tradesmen, mothers and fathers, children and teens . . . you.
Pentecost is an affront to lazy, consumer Christians who have abdicated spiritual life to religious institutions so that they can function as apathetic bystanders.
Pentecost means that you are the mode of operation for God's work on earth. Possessed by the Holy Spirit, armed with the word of God, you are dangerous to the devil and all principalities that set themselves against God.
Stop going to church. Be the church.
Gather: "Do not neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Heb. 10:25).
Scatter: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, mind and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:30,31).
"Go and make disciples of all nations . . . " (Matt. 28:19).