I had a good conversation with somebody the other day in a parking lot about church. They told me they never really felt like they experienced “God’s presence” in the few times they went to church. They said the only time they felt God’s presence was one time when they were working and a neighbor brought them a big glass of cold water. They ended up sitting down together, talking about a lot of things and their neighbor prayed for them. They asked me what I thought about that. I told them that while God’s word encourages us to assemble together, “You don’t have to be in church to have church.” We talked a little more, I encouraged him to keep seeking God’s direction on some things and then we prayed. This man thanked me and said, “You know, I think we just had church.”
I would have to agree with him. I think we did have church. And as Christians, we need to “have church” more often in our churches. We need to reach out to those who visit, engage them and get to know them. We need to make them feel welcome so that they experience God’s love through us.
And we must “have church” more often outside our churches. We need to take cold glasses of water to our neighbors (who is my neighbor?– see Luke 10:25-37), we need to minister to and talk to and interact with and engage and LOVE people outside of the walls of that physical building we mistakenly refer to as “the church.” We need to offer water much more often than we do.