Summary of Identifying and Defining The Church
BUILDINGS OR PEOPLE - The Church (and its constituent local congregations) is not a building, sanctuary or an organization. Rather, it is a body of believers who are Disciples of Christ. Yet while The Church is not a building, local congregations can, and most often do, own and care for facilities that serve a local assembly of the body of Christ and its surrounding community. Buildings are mere centers which are utilized for worship, ministry, disciple-making, fellowship and outreach. Buildings are not, and should not, be confused with being The Church.
The Evangelical Friends (my own church tradition) have never called the facilities owned by a local congregation a church. Historically, we (the Evangelical Friends) called these local assemblies of The Church “Weekly Meetings” and Evangelical Friends buildings were aptly called Meeting Houses where “Weekly Meetings” met to worship and hear from God. This tradition continues today through an emerging change in terminology as now Evangelical Friends Weekly Meetings (think: Lord’s Day services, Christian Education classes and fellowship groups etc.) gather at what are commonly called Ministry Sites. These Weekly Meetings of local congregations periodically gather regionally into Quarterly Meetings and all Quarterly Meetings come together once a year for an annual gathering called a Yearly Meeting. None of the buildings in which these gatherings of The Church occur are called churches.
The point here should not be misunderstood in any way to convince people of Evangelical Friends terminology or organization but rather to help illustrate the core theological belief of what constitutes The Church. The Church is a community of people, not a place, building or campus. This is foundational to comprehending the practical theology of how The Church should be organized and function; especially in regards to Sport, Recreation and Fitness Outreach Ministries.
All of the previous discussion now sets the foundation from which many relevant Ecclesiological subtopics can be perceived.
The next blog in this series will discuss the purpose and function of The Church and its relevance to the Sports Outreach Movement.
This blog is an excerpt from Dr. Linville's book yet to be released book – Sports Ministry Fundamentals. All rights reserved. For any reproduction right, including copying, computer reproduction, etc. contact:
Dr. Greg Linville at CSRM International C/O The World Outreach Center 5350 Broadmoor Circle N. w. Canton, Ohio – USA 44709 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Other blogs and articles on Local Church Sports, sports theology and ethics written by Dr. Greg Linville and other local church Sports, Rec & Fitness Ministers are archived at: www.csrm.org
Dr. Greg Linville was one of the founding members of CSRM and has served as the Executive Director since 2000. He served for 15 years as a local church sports and recreation minister and coached over 30 years at the junior high, high school and collegiate levels as well as 30 years in rec. leagues. Dr. Linville has consulted with churches from Australia, Africa, Asia, Australia, Caribbean, Europe, New Zealand and North America. He was awarded the world's first honorary Doctorate in Sports Ministry and holds an earned Doctorate as well. He is the author of Christmanship: The Theology of Competition & Sport. Dr. Greg has been married for over 35 years, is the father of two married children and the grandfather of a growing number of grandchildren.