"If we are the church, then this can’t actually be true. We don’t actually go to church on Sunday," Cottrell explains. "What we do instead is assemble where other members of the church happen to be, and we usually sit in a pew and listen to someone preach from the pulpit." This is not just church, you are the church!
"It was not so long ago the Lord really clarified this point for me," Cottrell says. In the current Christian climate of "doing social justice, missional living, and loving the unlovely,” we sometimes get caught up in the church's significant, yet secondary function of reaching the lost.
Scripture tells us, Cottrell says, that "the church exists for the believer—to equip, edify and empower the saints. To manifest the body and life of Jesus Christ."
While the Church (note the capital C) is the body, not the building, worship on the Lord's day is not replaceable by small groups, home groups, and Bible studies, as good and important as those things are. When we unite to worship the Lord corporately and hear the preaching of His word, we do so together, under one roof, as a diverse, yet unified body, Cottrell says. "Church is, and should be, all of us. All the time."
"In the consumer-driven, 'bigger is better' culture we find ourselves in, many Christians have come to falsely believe it is our responsibility to build the church," Cottrell contends.
The truth is, we are not the ones who do the growing. "1 Corinthians 3 teaches that, while some of us plant and others water, it is God who causes it to grow. We are 'coworkers belonging to God.'" God is the one doing the work!