After believing in Jesus, life can become a little confusing as to what exactly we are called to be and to do. What are we doing here? More importantly, what is God doing?
You may have heard the saying, “Jesus came preaching the kingdom and what arrived was the church.” This statement gets at the dilemma many people feel. Isn’t everything supposed to change now that we know Jesus? Where is the kingdom? What does the church have to do with Christ’s rule?
The kingdom of God is what Christ preached and ushered in, and the present form it takes is the church. This people and place, now called the church, are where the kingdom of heaven is seen. It is a place where certain things happen and also a people who do certain things, as outlined in Acts 2:42.
The church is a place where the people are gathered to receive God’s divine gifts, and it is a people who are formed and scattered during the week. The church, then, goes out into neighborhoods and communities to serve others in their various callings. This is our mission. This is where we give Christ’s love through our callings.
We are the church when we serve the poor, change our children’s diapers, and share the gospel.
Nevertheless, these callings cannot be done without the gospel ministry and God’s gift giving. While we can make a distinction between the church as place and the church as people, the two callings should not be separated. The church is God’s kingdom and mission into the world through all of these multifaceted callings.
The church as an institution is the new center of gravity. Here is the place where God’s gifts of salvation come down from Jesus to us (Eph. 4:1–16). Here is where we get our marching orders so God might employ us in our lives to bring his goodness and truth to those in need, for body and soul.
In this way the Word of Christ continues to reverberate from the pulpit, the baptismal font, and the table out to the pew and into the homes and lives of Christians, their workplaces, and schools. Christ by his Spirit governs every facet of our existence. This is what we do, and yet it is also God at work in us for his glory and our good (Eph. 4:17–6:9).