The Church Isn’t a Building, But It IS a Gathered People

I’ve been asked on a few occasions the question, “Why is it important to gather physically as the Church? After all we have such high quality  and engaging online services.”  Great question.  The most concise way to answer that is by saying: You and I were designed for fellowship, for connection, for relationship, its part and parcel of the human experience.  You’ve heard me say, “Isolation kills, but community conquers.”  Isolation is a breeding ground for our temptations to give way to sin.  For our loneliness to develop into depression, our sin to spread.  But in community we have a network of brothers and sisters to encourage us to gain the victory.  To hold us accountable, to build us up and cheer us on.  This is best done face to face.

The Church was designed to be a spiritual family, a group of believers united in the gospel doing life together.  This is why the writer to the Hebrews said, “Do not forsake the assembling of one another.”  The author goes on to write the reason we must not give up physically meeting.  “So we can encourage one another all the more as you see the day approaching.”  We gather for encouragement, we gather to share stories in the hall in and after Sunday School and simply to be encouraged by hanging out.  We are emboldened in our faith as we worship through song and word.  The mere fact that we, as relational people are in the presence of others lifts our spirits.  We need one another.  Let me give you three practical reasons we gather.

  • Although the Church is a spiritual organism, it’s also relational.  The Church isn’t a building but it is a gathered people.  In part my spiritual growth depends on you, and your spiritual growth depends on me.  We need each other.  This relationship is best accomplished in person.  

  • The Christian experience is a corporate one.  The product of the church is disciples.  The primary manner in which we make disciples is imitating what we see.  Paul calls Timothy to set an example for the believers, Peter exhorts the pastors to be an example to the flock. We need to spend time with one another to set an example.  We “do” life together and as we do, younger believers watch how we interact with our spouses, our children, our friends.  They are able to listen to us and study us as we sing and take notes in service.  My boys have learned to worship the King by watching me.  It’s fairly amusing to watch them now,  and see how they follow my example.  

  • The ministry of presence.  When we gather as the Church, we demonstrate the transformative work of Christ to one another and a watching world.  Where else do hundreds of diverse people, made up of different ethnicities, socio-economic statuses, political leanings, life experiences, ages and so much more gather united by the shed blood of Jesus.  Each week as I stand to preach and witness this diverse group of individuals unite as one in Christ, I am once again mesmerized by the power of Christ in the life of a person created on purpose and for great purpose.
Yes, it is important to gather physically.  We must not give up the habit of meeting together as the Bible says.  This is why we are offering additional on-site options this coming Sunday.  But we also understand we have three distinct groups within our church family.  Those who have been ready to meet for a while now.  Those who are ready, but cautious.  And those who are not ready and may not be for some time.  Regardless of what group you are in, that’s OK.  I want to affirm you and your decision.  I do want to speak to the latter groups for a moment.  Take your time and join us in our collective gathering when you are able.    
We are continuing to produce FC at Home resources for you indefinitely.  Sunday services, online Bible studies and other online discipleship tools.  Over the course of the past weeks, we have learned that there are some, and for many valid reasons, have sporadically, or never been able to attend in person.  We want you to join in online.  FC at Home is a great tool for those that cannot physically take part in physical gatherings.  I received an email from a single person who suffers agoraphobia, this persons specific struggle is leaving the house.  The email had this line, “I’ve not been in Church for years, I watch online, but never had community.  An online women’s study has given me a sense of the real thing, and even if it was over a screen, I had contact with others.”  Friends, this is one of the reasons we will continue to offer more ministry online in the future.  
To learn more about Pastor Chris visit
Pastor Chris Williams
Pastor Chris is the Senior Pastor of Fellowship Church.




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