What does it mean to have a “Church Home”? For some, this term describes the building they frequent each Sunday, but for Christian author Shauna Niequist, it holds a much deeper meaning. In a recently published article, Niequist reminisced about growing up in the family Church, and what those years mean to her life now. To her, the Church was so much more than four walls and a steeple. It was as near and dear to her as any sister.
In an effort to explain herself to the reader, Niequist writes,
“If I could reach through the computer and take you by the hand, I’d walk you through the hallways and tell you stories of confession and redemption. I’d show you where I learned to read God’s word, where I learned to listen for his Spirit, where I gave my life to him and to his purposes here on earth. I’d show you where I got a concussion in junior high, and where I was standing when a boy reached to hold my hand for the first time. I’d show you where I was baptized, where I was when I watched the Twin Towers fall on September 11, where I sat trembling just before I preached there for the first time, scared out of my mind.”
She concludes her thoughts by saying that books and blogs will never truly give justice to a Church Home,
“They fail to capture what a church actually is: real live actual humans, showing up day after day, year after year, building something durable and lovely over time, together, with prayer and forgiveness and love.”
In many ways, Niequist’s reflections are a reminder to Christians of what the Church was always meant to be. The House of God wasn’t created for political movements or personal glory, it was a home built for the lost and the lonely. When we forget this detail, we run the risk of excluding the very people Christ has called us to serve. Writer Elisabeth Klein highlighted this idea in her recent post about singles in the Church. A single woman herself, Klein offered advice for ways churches could improve their outreach into the community,
“If you’re not offering DivorceCare, consider offering it. There are so many hurting men and women out there and they need a safe place of support and a safe place to begin healing. If you don’t have a Singles’ Group or ministry or class, consider starting one. Yes, even though I just said I probably wouldn’t attend. I’m not your target audience then. Someone would attend, and would very much appreciate the acknowledgment and community. Though I understand the importance of couples’ groups in your small group ministry, consider offering groups that are mixed. Segregation can add to our shame.”
When we take the time to invest in those around us, we change from merely being Christians to adopted brothers and sisters, who are all children of a Heavenly Father. And that is a very encouraging thought.
What about you? What are your thoughts on your "Home Church"?
**Ryan Duncan is the Culture Editor for Crosswalk.com