April 20th, 2021

By the Way: What makes a church essential?

By Weston Lundgren on April 2, 2021.

The pandemic and lockdown have caused many of us to ask questions about our daily routines. What services are essential? How do I connect in a meaningful way with the others?

While these questions may seem novel at times, answers always have the potential to give clarity and purpose. Similarly, churches across Canada have taken a deeper look at what makes a church essential.

Jesus describes his Church as essential because it is different. In 1 Peter 2, Peter describes two essential ways churches should be different. Churches are a group of people who are being transformed by God’s Truth. The Essential Church values truth over compromise. However, governments rely on compromise to get things done. Essential churches provide a unique space where agreeing to disagree isn’t enough, because our questions are valued tools as we work together to understand God’s objective truth.

Second, the Essential Church is different because, like a family it is made up of individuals serving others as individuals, both inside and outside of the Church. This creates tension between churches and governments because national, provincial and even local governments are responsible for creating policies at a population level. The Essential Church uses this tension in a positive way to provide for those who are left out of or adversely impacted by broad policies. Governments can then create better policies when they recognise the impact policies and laws have on some individuals. The Essential Church seeks to serve those who have fallen through the cracks. They seek to walk with those who have lost a loved one; to help those who live alone to connect; to provide community and resources to those who are struggling because of reduced income or mental health.

The Essential Church values the truth and as a result, Essential Churches in Medicine Hat have found different ways to express and live out the truth that we share as followers of Jesus. I’m not here to debate the best way to do that, but to encourage you to find an Essential Church where your questions are valued. The Essential Church will actively proclaim that, despite our many flaws and mistakes, God doesn’t just love people, he loves you!

Weston Lundgren is pastor at GracePointe Community Church

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