I grew up going to church.
Not just casually at Christmas and Easter, but we were serious about going to church.
✔️Sunday school and worship
✔️Wednesday night prayer meeting
✔️VBS and youth ski trips
I can’t remember a time in my life when church wasn’t an integral part of our weekly schedule, and I’m so grateful for my parents’ commitment to raising us in the church (yet I was not always so grateful as a kid).
In these unprecedented pandemic days, it’s a gift to attend church virtually.
Even so, it feels a little off for a girl whose life has been marked by growing closer to God alongside a community of believers.
Spending the last few weeks worshiping at home, the Lord has reminded me that the church is not simply a building. It’s a meeting of people who know Jesus and are committed to honoring him and sharing the Gospel.
Interestingly enough, that’s exactly what we’re called to do in the confines of our own homes: raise families who love Jesus and live transformed by his grace.
As we spend the next few weeks churching in our homes, let’s look for truths on how to be the church when there’s no church.
In doing so, let’s focus less on fabricating big doctrinal moments around the kitchen table and more on choosing Jesus in the seemingly insignificant things that happen within the four walls of our homes.
The church of priority
When we go to church, it’s all about one thing: Jesus. The reason we worship, give money, study God’s word, grow closer together—it’s all about a commitment to our Savior.
Somewhere along the way, despite the best of intentions, many things in my house became less about the priority of Jesus and more about comfort, convenience, entitlement, and entertainment.
Being a church of priority in our homes means we’re resolute in being about the things of Jesus, all the time, whatever the cost.
We’re relentlessly pointing our kids to the Lord when they wake up, when they go to bed, on the way to baseball, on vacation, coming home from preschool, getting dressed for prom, when someone was mean to them, and everywhere in between.
It’s about being less concerned with academic potential and more interested in our child’s heart for the lonely kid at lunch. It’s relentlessly praying that our kids’ inclinations to pursue popularity won’t dilute the truth of their identity. It’s shifting our mindset to the eternal, when everyone around us is focused on the temporal.
Being the church of priority is pursuing God and honoring his word at all costs, knowing the small things of earth will someday be the big things in heaven.
The church of God’s truth
I’ve heard Bible stories at church for as long as I can remember. I learned about a young boy named David defeating a huge giant with a slingshot, an honorable man named Noah building an ark having never experienced rain, and the story of Daniel walking unharmed out of a lions’ den because of God’s protection.
As a child, these stories were entertaining. As an adult, they are the foundations of the truth by which we’re called to live.
Being the church of God’s truth is learning that God gets the greatest glory when we boldly face our giants in God’s strength, like David. It’s expecting that God will ask us to obey when it makes no earthly sense, like Noah. And it’s weathering long, hard places of suffering knowing we are never alone, like Daniel.
Being the church of commitment to God’s word means we don’t just study God’s word, we find ways to implement it.
It’s teaching our kids all the Bible stories when they are little so the foundational truths of Scripture are planted in their souls as they grow older. It’s refusing to let this world change our view on the inerrancy of God’s word, pursuing holiness because it’s God’s call on our lives.
The church of remembrance
I wonder how different our prayer lives would be if the walls of our churches could retell the stories of God’s faithfulness throughout the years. What if church walls could tell stories of how God healed the sick, restored marriages, provided paychecks, and protected his people?
In 1 Samuel 7, the Lord gave the Israelites a much-needed victory against the Philistines. Samuel then took a stone and called it Ebenezer, meaning “the Lord has helped us to this point.”
Samuel crafted a physical reminder of the spiritual truth that God always has, and always will, help his people. He goes before us, he loves us, he provides for us, and he protects us.
Our families need this same reminder, especially in times like these: God has been with us up to this point, and he will do it again.
The church of remembrance holds up our past Ebenezers in the face of doubt, discouragement, and uncertainty. We’re a beacon of light in a culture of darkness because we remember the stories of his past faithfulness. May we someday look back on our Ebenezer from these days, remembering God’s deliverance for our families. May we recall how he taught us that his church is not just a place to worship but a way of life.