It's not your church
"And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." - Matthew 16:18
This week the Church around the world gets ready to celebrate the biggest day in the church calendar: Easter. As church leaders and volunteers scramble to prepare for Easter, here’s a backswing thought I want to keep at the front of our minds: never be fooled into thinking it's “your church” or “our church,” but rather God's church. We can't start thinking this is ours. We can't think this is mine. This is not mine. This is not ours. This is His.
Sometimes if I'm at a conference, or talking to people in our church, I’ll hear people refer to “Ron's church” or “So-and-so’s church.” Or you might have someone who started a ministry either inside or outside the church, and it’s easy to say, “well, this is my ministry.”
Every time I hear that, there's a red flag going off in my head. This isn’t mine. This isn’t yours. This isn’t even ours. This is His and this ain’t no family business. I can’t say this enough: This isn't my thing. This is God's thing. He's the one that started this, and I am humbled and amazed that I get to stand up and preach God’s Word each week. This is His.
Matthew 16:18 is the first passage of Scripture that I ever opened up to on March 12, 2000 when we held our very first church service at Highpoint Church. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says it like this, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (emphasis added). Do you see the possessive in there, “my church”?
If you do some research on the word for “church” you’ll find that this is the first time it's used in the New Testament. The original Greek word, ekklesia, was simply used for any assembly or collection of people. It's not like what we think of with a steeple, or a traditional church with stained glass. It's just an assembly, a gathering. Literally, this word means “the called out ones.” Called out from what? Called out from death into life. Called out from darkness into light. We've been called out. This is something to get excited for. This isn't us, this isn't ours. This is His. He's called us from bondage to freedom. That's what God has done and so we can't afford to forget that this is His. Repeat after me, this is God's Church.