As parents, and as a Pastor, Abby and I attend and bring our children to the church building every Sunday (and often on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, well, you get the idea). While it is part of my “job” as a minister to be here, it isn’t theirs. So, we always want to be careful how we describe what we do and why we do it.
This being the case, on any given Sunday, Adele will ask “Are we going to church?” This isn’t really that brilliant of a question and one that many kid ask when they get into a car on a Sunday. Here is my point: our response to our children’s questions will shape their theology, especially in regards to what it means to be the church. Why?
Terminology becomes theology.
So how are we to respond? Any time she asks us if we’re going to church, we will kindly say to her, “Actually, we’re going to where the church gathers together.” I know, it may seem redundant and saying “to church” is much easier, we must understand and teach our children that the church isn’t a building. It has never been described as one either.
The word “church” comes from the Greek word ekklesia which is defined as “a gathering” or “family” or “called-out ones.” The root meaning of “church” is not that of a building, but of a people. I could explain more, but I’ll leave it here for now.
So what did Adele say that was a theological win?
While Adele and Abby were walking out of our building the church meets in, she looked into the sanctuary and said, “Mommy, where did the church go?!” I said to myself, “YES! She’s understanding what it means to be the church!”
That’s a theological win if I’ve ever heard of one.