Have you ever thought about the subtle difference between the Church and just another crowd? Do you know how to tell the difference between these two gatherings of people? It is not as simple as you might think. You might be inclined to believe that the Church gathers in church buildings and crowds gather in other locations. Make it a point to know the difference because as Christ followers we are the Church – but sometimes we can easily find ourselves acting more like part of the crowd.
Here are 5 ways to differentiate a crowd from the Church:
- Crowds are together in Proximity, the Church is together in Unity – crowds gather without having a common bond. They are together in proximity for the sake of things like a concert, a political rally supporting the same cause or perhaps a really good deal on a potential purchase. They are near each other but they are not connected. The Church however is a group of people who at their core are unified by the common bond of Christ.
- Crowds show up to See Something, the Church shows up to Do Something – people show up in a crowd because there is something capturing their attention. Whether that thing is meaningful or simply entertainment the common pull is an invite to sit back and watch. In contrast the Church shows up with an orientation towards action. They show up to do something of spiritual or redemptive value. The Church shows up to worship and glorify God. The Church shows up to live out Kingdom realities here on earth.
- Crowds Come and Go, the Church Endures – A halfway decent event will pull a crowd. If a cause is sexy enough it will elicit a crowd. If the entertainment is quality a crowd will form. When the show is done the crowd will disperse. The Church on the other hand has been going since you took your first breath and will continue on well beyond any of us living today.
- Crowds seek to Be First, the Church seeks to put Others First – In a crowd you want to be in the front, to have the best seat or at least be ahead of as many people as possible. Crowds show up early to be ahead of others as much as possible. The Church seeks to promote others, lift up and serve others while making much of those around us.
- Crowds encourage Blending In, the Church encourages you to Stand Out – Crowds tend to cultivate uniformity in people. Be a part of the mass, blend in and conform. It is the equivalent of encouraging everyone to wear the team colors for game day. The Church encourages each of us to discover our gifting, passion and personality and stand out as the unique person God created each of us to be.
Crowds aren’t bad…Jesus had a big crowd! What is important for each of us as believers is to live like part of the church instead of acting like just another face in the crowd. The idea of the Church and the crowd are not mutually exclusive. You can be part of the Church but live like a part of the crowd. You can also be in the middle of a crowd while acting like the Church.
When we gather in a church building on the weekend we can engaging like the Church or default towards acting like a part of the crowd. When I am at work, or out in the community or even in my own home I have the ability to reflect my identity as part of the Church or act like just another part of the crowd.
Are there areas in your life or leadership where you are called to live like the Church but find yourself acting like part of the crowd?