It was our first full-time ministry experience. The majority of the village population lived in a cluster of homes surrounding a four-way stop, and worshiped another five minutes down the highway in this tiny country church.
Voices raised in worship seeped through the paper-thin walls as we poured out ourselves for the gospel. Now, over a decade later, the church no longer stands. Part of me wishes I could see those familiar walls again. However, the church, the real church, is not made of walls.
The church is not an institution, but instead is a spiritual entity made up of those who have by grace through faith been brought into a close, intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9). Those people, no matter which building, denomination, or country they happen to be in, constitute the true church.
The church is made of people living for Christ, people working to tear down the walls standing between an unbelieving world and God. It’s where everyone matters, but numbers don’t because it doesn’t matter how many bodies fill the pews, what matters is how Jesus changes lives— how people put themselves down and pick Jesus up.
Inside those thin walls, in that place of growth, place of wonder, place of challenges, and place of miracles, God saved souls and moved people from darkness to light. He changed me. He sanded my rough edges and sifted my heart, leaving me with nothing but Him. And because of that, I will always be thankful for those ministry years that spurred growth, maturity, and a total dependence on God.
All for His glory.