Here Is the Church…

August 5, 2022

The greatest resource your church has is not your staff or building. It’s your people.

Remember the old hand gesture rhyme we all learned as kids? “Here is the church. Here is the steeple. Open the doors, and where are all the people?” Since the church was never a building, let’s focus on people. The church’s future depends on discipling and multiplying future generations.

In the 1980s, there was an expectation for the people to be in the church. “Here is the church. Here is the steeple. Open the doors and see all the people.” Where are the people? They are in the pews protected by the building under the steeple.

The church was never a building.

In the 1980s, maybe this was the correct way to think. The first place people spent most of their time was in their homes. Second place was at work. The goal then was to elevate the church to third place. As the church has declined 25% in 25 years, should we be focused today on getting “all the people” under the steeple?

Where Are All the People?

Are we asking why the people are walking away from the church? Is it because of racial tensions, distrust, or moral failure of leaders? Do they prefer watching church from home or have better things to do on Sundays? And are they trying to distance themselves from the church building, the church body, or God?

The reality is we’ve done a decent job at dechurching people.

The Church Isn’t the Building

Don’t be upset that people are not in your building. Be upset they have no spiritual purpose when they’re not in your building.

It was never about the building. Measuring people in seats and views online are analytics that shows a product’s consumption. This is how the world measures success. They look at the number of views, downloads, subscribers, hours, or sales. They’re literally measuring consumption.

The church needs to be more than consuming a product. It’s not that our church product is bad. It’s that our product isn’t God.

Perhaps churches, in an effort to reach people, have made it all about the church. We’ve created a Sunday morning product that’s powerful, beautiful, but unfortunately ineffective. Does our focus need to change? Ironically, John the Baptist, after coming face to face with Jesus, came to a revelation: “He [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30, NASB).

It’s Not About Me

The future of our churches and Christianity boils down to the simple fact that our lives and ministry are not about us. Our battlefield is not in our facilities but our communities. If we want to address the church’s PR problem, we need to get out of the building.

Does your church have campus pastors? Make them community pastors! Are you used to people coming to you? It’s time to seek them. Culture has shifted, and our church’s future depends on us going, not them coming. Let’s work toward a society where we don’t need to hide God in our buildings.

Jeff Reed

Jeff Reed

In June 2000, Jeff led his first online Bible study, taking 75 people from around the world through the book of James using a text-based system called Ultimate BB. He was doing digital ministry way before it was cool. Founding THECHURCH.DIGITAL in 2018, Jeff’s passions have evolved into helping churches (and individuals too!) find their calling through digital discipleship, releasing people on digital mission, and planting multiplying digital churches. This pursuit will expand as Jeff (and others) create the DigitalChurch.Network, an organic, decentralized network for digital expressions of church, globally. Jeff also serves as the Director of Metaverse Church NEXT for Leadership Network, and works closely with Exponential and other globally facing, multiplication-friendly, gospel-centric organizations. Jeff married his high school sweetheart, Amy, and has two kids and a dog. They live in Miami, Florida.
View Author

Related Articles