As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
1 Peter 2:4-6
From our modern perspective it’s very easy to think of the church as a building made of steel, wood, bricks, and mortar. When the New Testament speaks of the church, it is always talking about people.
In fact, the earliest evidence of a house being converted architecturally into a place of Christian worship is not until approximately 241-256 AD.
In Peter’s description of the church, he describes people as “living stones” who are “built up as a spiritual house” with Jesus as the “cornerstone.” From Peter’s perspective, the church is not so much a physical building or even an institution but people that God is developing and bringing together in Jesus.
It’s important to remember that what makes us as “living stones” fit together in a cohesive unit is making sure that the cornerstone is in place. In the construction of a building, the cornerstone is set first in the foundation and all the other stones are positioned in reference to this stone. If the cornerstone is weak or not set in the right place, everything else in the building will be off.
How we view the church influences greatly how we approach ministry. Our goal can quickly become building bigger facilities or growing an institution instead of developing people who love and follow Jesus. It is vitally important that the church you call home is built on the only foundation that can stand, Jesus.
When you think about church do you think of a building, an institution, or people? How does this influence the way you view ministry and the purpose of the church?