Science offers insight on how the church can be more than just loosely associated individuals.
Recently I posted this on Facebook, “Answer with the first thing that comes to your mind, why do you go to church?” The vast majority of the answers were related to obtaining some kind of experience: closeness with God, worship, to be fed, to obtain knowledge. The far and away number one answer was “for community/fellowship.”
Yet I wonder whether what these experiences have in common, even the desire for community, is the focus on what the church gives me. Can that thing be relational yet ironically still individual?
While this Facebook post is not a scientific study, it made me wonder. Is the evangelical church in North America today truly the Body of Christ, or is it more a “loose association of the independently spiritual persons?” Do we ultimately attend as individuals searching for experiences to shore up our individual selves?
Of course, God works through the Holy Spirit to do amazing things in individual lives, but for some reason, as the New Testament writers remind us, he works through the church, the Body of Christ.
We come to church for many reasons, but we come to be formed as a congregation into the image and likeness of Christ—his Body on earth. The New Testament describes Christ’s representation as one but composed of many individuals (1 Cor. 12). How does God, through the Holy Spirit, enact this communal process, not for individuals, of being formed into Christ’s body?
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