I get what people mean when they say "The Church should move beyond the walls”—but it still gets my attention each time.
The Church doesn’t have walls; buildings do.
The Church is a singular group of people from every tongue, tribe, people group, and nation who make up the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham. Each Christian local church is a smaller sub-group of the larger group—the Church. The local church is a group of people, united by the Spirit of God, who—for the glory of God and the fame of Jesus Christ—are seeking to live sent lives as missionaries as they are making disciples of others and being discipled by others. Those who make up the Church are to pursue holiness and godliness—pushing each other and helping each other in their pursuits to become more and more like Jesus, believing more and more of who He is and how it is to shape, inform, and change them minute by minute of every day. The Bible teaches that the Church is to be organized under qualified leadership and that the Church is to gather regularly for preaching from the Bible and worship. The Church is also to consistently observe the biblical sacraments of baptism and communion.
We do not see the Church referred to certain building materials like block, brick, or metal siding. The Church is a people—the redeemed, cherished, adored, loved Bride of Jesus Christ. We are the apple of His eye. Amazing.
I believe that these things matter. What a church is matters. What we expect from a church and through a church matters. How we phrase certain things pertaining to Church and the Christian life matters. Why we do what we do and how we do what we do matters.
Pastors and ministry leaders, I encourage you in the near future to take some time with a few of your key leaders and discuss these things at length with them. Ask questions. Pray. Seek unity around these key words, phrases, and definitions. Explore the reasons for “why” and “what” and “how.” You may know the answers to the majority—if not all—of these questions, but that doesn't mean the people on mission with you do. Listen to how others from your local church answer these questions.
As we do this, I imagine you and I both will be surprised a bit by the answers. I see it as extremely beneficial to our mission and us as leaders. Let’s help guide our people into more intentional living—both individually and as a church family.