|A Church Without Walls?
While I haven’t read the book with this title, a friend recommended it to me a few years ago. The title stuck and prompts me to ponder its possible meaning. This title comes to mind every time we have a Praise in the Park because we experience it quite literally. Pavilion 7 doesn’t have any walls and we were very aware of that when we had to bundle up like we were going skiing. I pray we will have the beautiful weather we’ve been enjoying lately. But what might that say about a church?
There are many ways into a church without walls. You don’t have to worry about the doors because there are no walls keeping you out. Without walls there are no gatekeepers to dictate terms of entrance. All are welcome who will gather with those on the way.
A church without walls is more visible. You can’t hide behind the walls because there are none. People passing by get to observe your conduct without having to enter. They can watch you from afar to consider whether or not your practices are worthy of participation. Jesus was the one who spoke of putting a lamp on a stand rather than under a bowl.
A church without walls is much simpler. Too often our buildings become increasingly more complicated. At what point does all our stuff get in the way of what we are supposed to be about?
My time in Africa has contributed to some of these thoughts, too. When you are trying to train others to become church planters you think about these issues. What is really necessary to have a church? My study indicates you need Jesus, the Scriptures and people to have a church. Even a roof is a luxury. Many churches meet under a large tree.
I pray we don’t become so dependent on our stuff that we assume we cannot do church without it. Maybe Praise in the Park is a good reminder that church isn’t about the building but about people gathered in submission to Jesus, through Scriptures. We can be a church wherever we are. Let’s make sure we don’t complicate simple spiritual truths.
John Kenneth King