What does “church” look like to you? As a kid, I remember my grandparents helping me to fold my hands together in a certain way, then teaching me, “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open the doors, and here are all the people.” Then I’d wiggle my fingers and see the people in the church.
Growing up in Virginia, I saw my fair share of those churches with their steeples, and if I was driving by at the right time on a Sunday morning, or a Wednesday night, I’d see cars in the parking lots, and maybe I’d even catch a glimpse of the people walking in or out.
We spent a lot of time in those churches too, and I wondered often where exactly I fit in. I thought of those wiggling fingers and figured if I belonged anywhere, it was probably in the back row, on the left side, near the aisle.
But it turns out, in the Bible a “church” isn’t actually a building, which means belonging to a church wasn’t about where I sit in any building.
Instead, I learned as I grew older that in the Bible the “church”was actually the community of believers who gathered together. In fact, the Greek word in the Bible for “church” isekklesia, which just means an assembly of people. So it turned out the church was really the congregation, whether they were gathered in a church building or not.
For years at Northland, I heard Pastor Vernon charge us at the end of the services to, “Go and be the church, everywhere, every day.” I loved that weekly reminder that the church wasn’t the building, but that we were the church. But it left me with a problem: If the church wasn’t a building, then answering the question, “Where do I belong?” had less to do with where I sat, and more to do with discovering my role within the church family.
Belong & Grow is Northland’s partnership class, created to help you answer that very question: Where do you belong in the Northland church family?
While the specific answer will be a little bit different for everyone, one of the foundational truths is that everyone is welcome to belong to this church family. Even more, God created each and every one of us for a purpose. As Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Isn’t that amazing to consider? God has already planned good things for us. And those plans and purposes are less about our achievements, and more about the relationships he built us for.
That’s the story of the church, after all. Jesus founded his church and charged his followers to rearrange their lives around loving God and loving their neighbors. Those first believers took Jesus at his word and discovered his promises were true and experienced the abundant life that Jesus promised. That’s the same story we’re continuing to experience at Northland—that when we follow Jesus together, we’ll discover what it means to be fully alive, together.
God created you to be a part of His masterpiece, and He has good things planned for us to experience together as a church family!
As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:5 (NLT), “so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.”
Belong & Grow starts January 26 at 6 p.m. and for four weeks we’ll learn what it means to belong to a church body—and the best part is that it’s online, so you can join us wherever you are. We study the scriptures together and hear from church leaders about the work we’ve seen God do in this community for decades. We’ll also learn about each other, and we’ll discover the different ways God has made us to compliment and care for each other. Just like a body needs different parts to function, we’ll find the different roles God has created us for at Northland. And we’ll end the class by connecting every participant with leaders from different ministries so that you can find practical next steps to belong and grow as a partner at Northland.
God’s at work in the midst of this congregation. People are experiencing God’s redemption, lives are being transformed.God’s masterpiece is being further revealed. That work isn’t happening through the building or the steeple. God is continuing to do His work through the church — through people like you and me, His people.
So join us for Belong & Grow, starting January 26, and let’s discover what God has in store for this church family, TOGETHER.