Tonight was Alpha. Have I mentioned how much I love this group of people who have been attending for the last several weeks? Next week will be our last Alpha and I was already feeling sad for it to end.
In my small group for Alpha, which is made up of ladies (the guys meet on the other side of the worship center) we have really shared and bonded over our time together. We have laughed and cried, complained and prayed. Encouraged and cheered and even, scolded (gently, lovingly) a couple of times.
As we shared tonight I remembered our first night of Alpha as we talked and how polite we were and cautious. Over the weeks we have been meeting, walls have come down as relationships have been built. Over the weeks, people's faith has grown as we have been stretched in different ways. For some it was the simple act of trusting enough to share from the heart, for others learning that praying out loud might seem scary but in reality it's just talking to someone who cares. It's been beautiful to watch.
It has really personified the fact that you can't be a Christian alone; we need community to keep us growing in Christ. We need family; the church is the family of God.
Fittingly, tonight's topic was about the Church and I love the 5 points that were made to answer the question "what is the church?"
Point 1: It's the People of God.
Point 2: it's the Family of God.
Point 3: It's the Body of Christ.
Point 4: It's a Holy Temple.
Point 5: It's the Bride of Christ.
Based on that, perhaps the question isn't What is the church after all but rather, WHO is the church! Perhaps the summary is the best of all: We don't GO to Church, We ARE the Church!
As I looked around the circle of ladies, who we are now calling sisters (even ya-ya's, lol) I thought excitedly, yah, this is the church. We aren't 'doing church' we are being the church! And as the evening came to a close we talked about the fact that next week will be the last one... until someone said "Can't we keep meeting? And do something else, another study?" It was eagerly embraced and the sadness I was feeling about Alpha ending faded because a prayer request of mine had just been answered. It's not the end. It's the beginning!