What is the church? If church is a place that we visit once a week—to see friends, sing favorite songs and listen—then we don’t need a book to tell us what it is. Even the smallest of us can discern that the church is a physical place that exists to meet our needs—even when our need is, simply, God.
But if the church is a part of something broader, something global that doesn’t terminate at the outer walls of our own church, something that wasn’t given to entertain and serve us but that we are meant to participate in and give ourselves fully to—well. A deeper explanation might be in order.
What is the Church? is an unassuming book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, really. It’s rhyme-y and cute, with fun illustrations by Tessa Janes, but at its heart is a deep truth: the church is a family of folks who serve Christ together, who get into each other’s lives and are unified not by our own blood ties, but by our ties to the blood of Christ.
The church is a body of missionaries and servants, who go out into the world or across the street to find folks who need Christ and to share Him with them. The church is full of learners and worshippers. But more than anything the church is a living building. A thriving body of disparate parts brought together and made whole.
The church, as this book so aptly puts it, is not a “what” but a “who”: not a building, but a set of believers whose lives are intertwined. That’s the sort of thing that is tricky to explain to little ones, but this book does it so well that I’m looking forward to reading the other books in the series, What is the Gospel? and Our Home is Like a Little Church.
What is the Church?
Mandy Groce and Bill Bell, Tessa Janes (2011)