Sometimes my colleagues are the worst offenders of this....How is everything at YOUR church. Church members like to cast this onto pastors as well. Pastor Andy's church, or Saint Mark's....that's Pastor Andy's, right? Getting past the attachment of experience and the ownership titles of leadership, this idea of church is not biblical.
"In the Hebrew Scriptures there is no word that describes the church, per se, except for the relationship that God develops with God's people. That is covenant. And Covenant speaks to relationship not a building. Jesus said he will build his church upon Peter's confession of Jesus as the Messiah. The book of Acts describes the church as the followers of Jesus, the gathered people of God. One person has stated well that the church is a 'who' not a 'what.' So if the biblical notion of church is a people of God covenanted together with God, following in the promise of Jesus as Messiah, our belonging is broader than my church. We are the church.
That expression, "we are the church," helps ignite the imagination of the biblical witness. I have heard the people of St. Mark's announce this with pride in all circumstances. We are the church makes a bold witness to what it means to be in this relationship, practicing our discipleship in this place as flawed human beings confessing our sins, offering forgiveness and placing our trust in a God who gives us a place to belong. Being a part of this expression also unites us with the faithful witnesses throughout the world and even universe. (the term catholic, with a small c, means universal). As a church, we unite ourselves in the promises of our Savior in our Baptism. In this way we pray prayers together, we sing hymns of praise together, we read God word together, in different places, in different times, and in different languages.
We are the church reminds us that we are in it together, united in the promises of God. Therefore, there is no my church. We are the church. - Praying attention - Pastor Andy