1 Peter 2:5
“Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.”
"If all I had was the Bible as my guide...and I was to read this book and then start a 'church' what would it look like? Would it look like the thing that we've built here and all refer to as church? Or would it look radically different?" -Francis Chan
I have been thinking a lot about church lately. This past Sunday I was reading and talking about Acts 2:40-47 with a few friends. This is a stunning picture of the church. I also just had coffee with a friend and we talked about church. . . What is church? Is church a building? Is church a program? Is church God's people? Is church the Body of Christ? How are we to be the church? What does it mean to be the church? I found a great web site; we are church, which begins to unpack these questions: http://wearechurch.com/. There are some amazing articles under the resource section by Tim Keller on The Missional Church, and some others great articles by some different authors.
I recently took a leave no trace trainer’s course with my wife Irene. Leave No Trace is a wonderful organization that lessens environmental impacts from back country travel and other outdoor activities. The mission statement for The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is: “. . . An educational, nonprofit organization dedicated to the responsible enjoyment and active stewardship of the outdoors by all people, worldwide.” The mission of Leave No Trace is simple and it minimizes environmental impact by leaving no trace.
When Irene and I got our materials for our LNT Trainer’s Course I found myself thinking about church again. There was a bumper sticker included in the packet that read, “Leaving your mark is overrated.” Now, that is funny and true when applied to not negatively impacting the environment when in the wilderness. However, if we were to apply this quote to the rest of life, or to Christianity or the church, this quote begins to be very ridiculous and tragic. This simply is not true. I began thinking about the church as I looked at this bumper sticker. I thought to myself, “Are there Leave No Trace Christians who think that ‘Leaving their mark is overrated?’” I also thought, “Am I one of them!?” Are we leaving a trace as the church? Because leaving our mark as the church is not overrated; this is our purpose.
The church is called to leave their mark. The church is not a building. The church is the people of God, living for God. Peter in his first letter, the first letter of Peter, asks us to present ourselves as stones for the building up of a living sanctuary that is vibrant with life. Peter is not talking about leaving our mark with physical structures here, or buildings. He is talking about a living structure with massive impact on our communities and our world. It is in this “living sanctuary,” the body of Christ; that we are all called to serve as holy priests offering ourselves up to God, having our lives approved by Christ Himself. In our serving and offering ourselves up, we will be impacted, we will leave the mark of Jesus on our families, on our communities, and on this world. We are called to be the church and to impact our communities for Christ. We are called to leave a trace of Jesus everywhere we go.
It has been said that, “Following Jesus is not ‘a spectator sport.’” This is true. We are not called to sit back and watch passively. We are to engage the world as “living stones” as the church. We are not called to “Leave No Trace” in our faith. There is no such thing as a “Leave No Trace Christian.” We are called to impact the world for Jesus’ sake. We are all implicated in ministry. We are to be the living body of Christ in the world, and to the world. We must leave our marks! We must share Jesus wherever we go. We must “get in the game!” As the church we are to impact our culture with true service, true fellowship, true worship, true teaching, and true ministry. We are to be the church. We are living stones. We are to be a living sanctuary, vibrant with life, in a sin dead world.
May we be the church in the world and impact our communities for Christ.
Impacting and leaving our mark as living stones,
Leave No Trace. Retrieved May 24, 2010. http://lnt.org/aboutUs/index.php
Peterson, Eugene H.: The Message : The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, Colo. : NavPress, 2002, S. 1 Pe 2:5
We Are Church. Retrieved May 24, 2010. http://wearechurch.com/