It comes as a great shock to many church members that Jesus rarely used the word ‘Church’, basically only twice. Once when referring to the ‘Rock’ (himself) on which he would build the spiritual eternal community of those who become disciples (Matt. 16:18). A second time when giving guidelines on how to deal with discipline issues in the Christian community (Matt. 18:17).
The fact of the matter is that Jesus wasn’t big on ‘church’ in the way we use the word anyway and didn’t come to build one. So why does ‘church’ consume so much time and energy for western Christians?
We might look at this another way by asking what WAS Jesus on about if it wasn’t church? The answer to that question is that He was on about the ‘Kingdom’. This was the centre of His teaching and ministry-the establishment of the Kingdom of God, not the creation of a ‘church’. It should be noted that in the Lord’s prayer we pray ‘your Kingdom’ come, not ‘your church’ come.
So western Christians tend to be on about the church while God is on about His kingdom. The Kingdom being establishment of His rule in human hearts (conversion), and in human society (justice).
Just musing that it might be worthwhile for us to carry out an audit of how much of our resources (time, gifts, money) are used for ‘the church’ and how much in establishing the ‘Kingdom’.
Just a thought, but it might have something to say about why we struggle!