“The church family is a place where love is shown, taught, and demonstrated.” – Unknown
Of all the word pictures and metaphors used to describe the church, one stands out above the rest: family. It is a literal description of the phenomena we know as church. The church is not like family; it is family. God is literally our Father, and we are literally brothers and sisters in Christ. Family is the primary way the early church identified themselves.
God’s church is supposed to be a group of people in relationship who do life together. The phrase “church family” captures the depth of life that people share when they attend the same church. Believers who go to the same church do not just sit in the same building on Sunday mornings; church members go through life together much like a family. They experience joys and sorrows together, have the same desire to live as Jesus lived, and through the ups and downs of it all, become a family. We say “church family” because it conveys how important our relationships are with other believers, and that a congregation is supposed to provide support and connection similar to that of a family.
The early church met together in homes where they were devoted to deep relationships. They became a spiritual family. In Acts 2:42 and following we see them exhibiting many of the characteristics of a family. They ate together, shared their possessions, and even sold their possessions if needed to take care of each other. They focussed on the Word of God and the teachings of the apostles. These actions not only depict the attitudes and actions of a family, but this is also the kind of bond and relationships that develop in a small group. A small group is a place where people can be be part of a smaller spiritual family.
When as an individual you understand the nature of the body of Christ, we need understand who we are and where we fit. As a member of the body of Christ, we do belong somewhere. When God’s grace has transformed us, we should find that it matters increasingly to us that we have been called into relationship with one another—into community. We’re diverse in the gifts that have been given; none of us can make up the body individually but only together. Each of us belongs to one another. We gather as church, then, in order to give of ourselves both to each other and, ultimately, to our Lord. Church is not a place for you merely to show up at and attend. It is a body. It is our family. We need the church; and the church needs us.
- Why do you go to church? Do you experience Church as a building you go to or an event you attend, or do you really experience it as a spiritual family?
- Do you feel that it is important to have a spiritual family? If yes, why is it important to you?