Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Since I’ve met Pastor Paul he has shared his vision for his ministry to the unreached Buddhist people of Myanmar, several times with me. His prayer is to have a permanent structure that his congregation can all gather together in for services, discipleship and to encourage one another in faith and worship. Someplace that he can set an example for a house church model to be implemented.
With this in mind I find myself asking, what exactly constitutes church? Is it a body of believers? Is it a collective state of mind? Is it a building that Christians meet in? Is it a mixture of all of the above? I am no theologian, but I offer a personal observation and conclusion based on my experiences.
Now like everyone else, during the CoVid Pandemic, Pastor Paul has taken to the internet to deliver messages to his congregants. As restrictions lighten, Pastor Paul is looking for ways to meet with his flock again. His ministry normally takes him to several different homes to gather with his congregation in order to minister to and instruct them. For many reasons like geography, lack of financing and religious intolerance by some, this is the only way he can conduct church.
This got me thinking about how blessed I and my family are to have the religious freedoms, family of believers and a beautiful building to come together and worship the God who has blessed us so much. These last couple of months have been a real challenge for me. Now I have always, and still do, believed that church is more than four walls. But as we are forced to stay home on Sundays and “go to church” on YouTube, sitting in my recliner watching church on tv, drinking my coffee and trying to avoid every distraction that is my home, I am challenged to reconsider the importance of a permanent structure with four walls used for the express purpose of worship.
These days as a pandemic has changed how we are able to “do church”, every aspect of my digital worship brings a strong desire to be gathered with other believers. No matter how good my sound system may be it doesn’t make my voice any better, but when it is added to that of 100+ other believers pouring out their hearts in song to Jesus, it becomes other-worldly. When we have corporate confession together in one voice or recite the Lords Prayer our voices altogether drown out all the other distractions. Having someone pray for you anywhere, anytime, in any way is an awesome thing, whether on zoom or in a text message. However, when someone prays for you in person with their hand on your shoulder, it is even more powerful.
So what’s my conclusion? Can I worship God digitally without physical interaction with other believers? The answer is, yes. Of course, I can. But I believe the real question is, should I? Is it good for the body of Christ to only have zoom lessons and YouTube sermons? How long can a Christian believer be sustained without physical interaction with other believers? My conclusion is that a Christian believer without a physical place to gather with other believers to encourage one another may still be able to worship God for short periods, but without the physical interactions of other believers, I believe that they are ultimately doomed to fail and fall away.
Proverbs 27:17 “ Iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another“
For Pastor Paul to long for a place that he can gather his flock together is not only a great idea, but one that would give the church in Myanmar a better chance to succeed.
Please pray for this to happen. And happen soon. If you would like to help make this happen or would like more info about it please e-mail me here .