On April 15, 2019, the world paused to process the videos shared on every news and social media outlet. Notre Dame, the famous cathedral in Paris, was engulfed in flames. As locals rushed to the barricades like flies to a light, the rest of the world stayed glued to their devices to behold the damage wrought. The fire caused enough devastation to close the iconic structure for years, but thankfully, the blaze claimed zero casualties.
Six days later, another religious tragedy struck. Terrorists in Sri Lanka coordinated a militant attack on numerous churches. Three hundred twenty-one adults and children died as they gathered to worship. Remarkably, this event barely made the news. This lower-tiered event was classified as the death of “Easter worshipers” while noticeably overshadowed.
The world was still in shock that a building in Paris wasn’t open on Easter Sunday more than they were that hundreds of Christians died in Sri Lanka. It reveals that we associate the church more with a location than a group. But Jesus didn’t give supplies to build a building; He gave His life to build a people.
One of the reasons the church is overshadowed is that we have made it about buildings.
We’ve focused on locations.
We obsess over personalities.
We war about programs.
We compete with other churches doing the same thing.
News alert: the church isn’t a place. It’s a people.
Jesus didn’t die so that we can have real estate with steeples on top. He died so that we could be reconciled to God and restored to one another.
Evaluate your connections to the church. Is it a place or a people?
Now all the believers were together and held all things in common.Acts 2:44
The early church gathered in a place, but the church was not the place.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.