An airport is not a destination.
An airport is an entity designed to assist you in getting where you want to go. At first glance you might judge an airport as successful if the parking lot is full, the concourses are teeming with people and there are lots of airplanes parked around outside.
Fact is, an airport is not where you’re going, it’s a place that helps you get where you’re going. You go there because you really want to go somewhere else. An airport is intended to help you get there.
That building on the corner is not a church. It’s a church building. It’s a place designed to help you get where you’re going. But a church is a group of people. Anytime the word church appears in the New Testament it is the Greek word for group. When Jesus said He would build His church He wasn’t talking about pounding nails. He was describing a transformed, truth-declaring, family of lovers.
Maybe it’s time we change the scorecard. A church is not necessarily successful because the parking lot is full. It may be club members inside the building simply enjoying each other. Or… Or it may be the church inside the building in strong intercession for the lost in their community. For the broken families. For the addicted. For the marginalized. For the lost.
It may be the church inside the building pleading with God to break their hearts over the things that break His. It may be the church inside the building listening to hear the heart cry of God. It may be the church inside the building seeking forgiveness, seeking words, seeking music, to adequately worship the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.
It may be the church inside the building imploring the God of heaven to reach the hearts of their own sons and daughters who are making bad choices.
But then the church leaves the building. Forgiven. Ennobled. Encouraged. Motivated. Joyous. To go where they’re headed… To love. To encourage. To bless. Instruments of change in a broken world. The church building has served its purpose – to help the church go where God has called them. Sort of like an airport.
Maybe a church is at its best when the parking lot is empty.
By Don Jacobsen