A number of years ago, back when my son Jonathan was a baby, I was lying in bed when I had what I guess you could call a vision. I was sitting in the branches of a tree overlooking Alton, Missouri. At first it looked peaceful, but then I started noticing that there were these paisley looking things swirling around the buildings. I was suddenly afraid because I realized that they were demons. I thought, “I can’t do anything against them.”
The next thing I knew, I felt a hand on my shoulder and I saw Jesus. (Don’t ask me how I knew him, I just knew him.) He said, “Dealing with them is my job. Your job is to bring my people together.”
Over the years I have thought about this “vision” a number of times. How was it going to happen? I had no idea. I simply knew that if it was meant to be, God would make it happen.
A few days ago I thought about it again and realized that this calling was beginning to become a reality. Last year, the Lord started having me participate with two different congregations. I didn’t take them over, mind you. I just participated in their worship and Bible studies. I had developed relationships with both congregations and shared their love for Christ.
Then a few months later, I became pastor of this church and joined the ministerial alliance in one of the local towns. Recently, I have started developing a friendship with some of the younger pastors of the area. I also participated with a radio prayer program with this same group.
What is the Church?
The other day a pastor friend of mine tried to make some sort of doctrine concerning the verses in Revelation 2 and 3 where it talks about the churches. I decided to look up the word churches in the original Greek and discovered that the word “churches” is the same word (ekklisia) used for the word church. That word means “the called out”.
I received quite a revelation. The church is not a building. The church is people. God doesn’t see different churches. He views the church as a single entity. In John 17:21, Jesus prayed that “they (the disciples, the foundational members of the church) would be one that the world would believe”. The goal of the first century church was unified in their beliefs of Jesus. The only division noted in that first century was the division because of location. For example, the church in Ephesus was separated from the church in Thyatira because of distance rather than based on doctrine.
In I Corinthians 12, we learn that another term for the church is “the body of Christ”. Again we see that there is only one church, but there are many members and that there are differences with in that body and that God planned the church that way. Just as he created each one of us uniquely, he created the church with many members performing different functions. In addition, as the second and third chapters of the Revelation demonstrates, there are differences of focus presented to each part of the church, however, never once did Jesus say to John that none of these congregations were not a part of the church.
A Personal Calling
The church is people and God does not want division between us. He wants us to realize that he has each of us placed in this world for a specific calling. I believe that bad mouthing the church down the street goes against what God himself wants. We, the body of Christ, are to love one another as he first loved us. This is my calling. To show others that as believers in Jesus Christ, we belong together.
Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church 1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm. As Author Cygnet Brown, she has published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener
She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.