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Recognizing church as family moves church into a new category – with fresh possibilities and renewed significance.

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So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. (Ephesians 2:19)


There are several things a biological family holds in common: shared genetics, a shared name, a shared residence, and shared time together. Typically, family also shares hopes and dreams. Family is intended to be one of the most significant and formative communities we have as human beings. Therefore, when the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus and made the statement, “you are members of the household of God,” it carries significant weight. Recognizing church as family moves church into a new category – with fresh possibilities and renewed significance.

As you read through the Scriptures, you won’t find the church referred to as an organization, a corporation, an institution, or a business. No. You’ll see the church identified as a body and a family. These are very personal terms. The Christian life begins when we’re “born again” (John 3:3) and born into a new family. It’s why biblical authors use adoption terminology and why followers of Jesus refer to each other as “brother” and “sister.” The New Testament is laden familial imagery, and it continues to echo down since the inception of the church.

If church is family, there are important implications. First, certain things we share with our church family transcend things we share with our biological family. We share the same Father, Lord, Spirit, redemption, foundation, and destiny. These bind us together and far outweigh the differences we maintain. Secondly, recognizing church as family changes our approach to ‘attending’ church. Going to church is more like dinner at a family member’s house than going to a restaurant. When you go to dinner with family, you offer to help prepare and serve the meal. Your focus is on enjoying time together, not being served perfect food. If church is family, maybe we need to celebrate our commonalities as well as reexamine our approach by moving from observation to participation and from consumption to contribution.

Spend some time today thinking about what characteristics of healthy families are true of healthy churches. What might change in your approach to church if you fully embraced this new vision of being part of a church family?[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Ryan Paulson

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