His hands were clasped together, and he said, “Here is the Church” then he wiggled his index fingers that were pointed up and followed with, “and here is the steeple.” Next, he turned his hands over and moved all his fingers inside and declared, “Open it up and see all the people.”
I was probably five years old when my brother showed me that little hand motion. It became a simple reminder of the Church being more than a building. Through the years I have told people the Church is not a building, it is the people. That is entirely true, but it is more complicated than it first appears. The Church has several dynamics working at the same time.
1. The People Dynamic. The Church is a group of people who have come together in the name of Jesus. We are united by our faith in our Lord and Savior. Our salvation brings us into a group of people of different ages, personalities, races, nationalities, and gender.
2. The Spiritual Dynamic. This group of people is united by belief. We have faith in a God who is unseen. We worship him in song, we pray to him, we give to his work, and we learn of him through his word. The people of the Church are deeply spiritual in their actions.
3. The Facility Dynamic. While the Church is not a building, it does own one. It is an essential tool in the work of God’s people. It provides a place to worship, outreach and service for the people of God.
4. The Program Dynamic. This group of people try to serve others and grow in faith through various activities. As a result, we hold small groups and youth groups. We organize events that are meant to teach, provide fellowship and service. Each Church has numerous programs to support their work and mission.
5. The Systems Dynamic. This is also described as the policies and procedures of a Church. It is the nuts and bolts part of a Church that directs how things get done. These may be written but are frequently left unwritten and sometimes even unclear.
The Church is people, but every organization of individuals, whether religious or not, has more to it than just people getting together. Several dynamics make the group move forward in unity. Each piece is essential and needs constant attention.
For example, I occasionally speak with Churches who are seeking to add new believers to their Church. They may perceive their struggle is a spiritual problem, so they gather and have prayer meetings. Upon further investigation, I often discover it is actually a facility problem. Another Church may think they are having a facility problem when it is really a problem with their systems. Still, some Churches have everything going great, but they have a problem with people inviting people.
Any group of people who truly wants to please God and do all they are able for his kingdom must give attention to every dynamic of ministry. I know you may not like the thought of Church as anything less than spiritual people. I want you to know that all parts of the Church are spiritual if they work together for the good of the kingdom of God.