Posted by: Brian Musser | July 24, 2017

Re-starting the Church

Surprises come often when working with students.  The will do and say things that you never expect; sometimes for the bad but sometimes for the good.  I remember this one time.  I took several of my Christian leaders to help a church with a community service project at their local library.  It was a great partnership.  The church got extra man power.  The students received community service credit.  The library was painted, cleaned and organized.

While everyone was there it seemed like a good chance to record some student interviews.  I always have a list of thought-provoking questions in my mind for just such an impromptu occasion.  One question that I like to ask in multiple different situations is, “How would it affect your life if the church in America completely disappeared tomorrow?”  I often ask this question in random interviews to see how disconnected students are from the church but this was one of the first times I asked it of Christian student leaders.

My assumption was that the question would surface comments about how connected the students are to the church.  It would highlight that for many of them multiple areas of their lives revolve around the church.  Their beliefs, schedules, social networks, families, priorities and many other things are connected to the church.  I was expecting to see a contrast between these Christian student leaders’ answers and the other students I had ask.

I was surprised by the answers.  Not so much by the contrast but by how my question almost didn’t make sense to them.  Three separate student leaders independently came to the same conclusion and answered the question in relatively the same way.  If the church disappeared tomorrow, they were starting it back up the day after.  They could not imagine their lives in America without a church because they were the church.  Even if all the trappings of the institution crumbled and the large numbers of attendees dissolved the church would persist because they were the church.

We talk a lot about owning your faith.  We wear t-shirts that have Christian clichés like “Don’t go to church.  Be the church.”  We look for ways to have people grasp the concept that they are the church.  Those student leaders understood that.  They are the church.

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