Friday 28th August, 2015 
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Going Deeper

Identifying Marks: Church without Walls

Colin Dye

For most people, all they ever see are the external walls of the church. The average person in London may pass by a dozen churches each day but few will enter to find out more about God. Could it be that our church walls are one of the greatest hindrances to the gospel today? Even the dictionary states as its first definition of the word, "church", that it is "a place of public Christian worship." Sure, we do worship God in our buildings but, according to the Bible, "church" is all about people, not about buildings. That is why our walls have to come down.

The only way we can show people Christ is to come out of the four walls of our church and quit hiding from the world. After a busy and pressured week most Christians just want to shut the world out and spend time with God in the privacy of the Sunday service. Of course, we need to do that, but it's only a tiny part of what we are about. Why not open up the walls of the church by inviting and bringing people who don't know Christ to join you as you worship God? It may take some time for people to be interested in the God you serve, but if you keep demonstrating the difference he makes in your life, their curiosity will be aroused and they will want to come and see for themselves.

Our church walls must cease to be walls of division. We emphasise this division when we equate Christianity with mere church-going. The message we send out is subtle but sure - "we are Christians; you are not" or, "we are good people; you are not". When church going becomes a virtue in and of itself we repel those outside because we have already judged them. A church without walls is an expanding community. We enlarge our hearts to embrace those who do not yet share our faith. The surprising thing is that when we do, people are interested. The world is waiting to know who we are and what we have to offer them.