Within every church lives what I would call, the real church. What I mean is that attending a church service or even joining a church, is not the same thing as being the church.
Regardless of size, there seems to be a core group of believers within every assembly who are truly "church." This group can include or exclude leadership, but in every sense, they ARE they church. They are the church when there is a scheduled meeting, just as they are the church throughout the week.
Over the past seven months we have been Stateside, we have visited many different churches. One observation I have made is that within churches there seems to exist another, much smaller, assembly of people. This smaller "church within the church" is made up of vibrant, loving, serving believers--call it the 20% who do 80% of all that ever gets done.
I have been fascinated by this group of people. To me, they are the real church. The rest seem to make up what is certainly called the congregation, but the true ekklesia seems to be the heart and soul of what makes a church a church.
Not only does this core group fill the slots in their local church's program, they are the ones who pray for one another, visit the sick, witness to the lost, invest their money in the Kingdom, fellowship together outside of the planned programs, minister in Jesus name, engage with their community, walk in fellowship with the Lord, disciple/mentor others, share their spiritual gifts within the body of Christ, engage the marginalized of society, share what they have with those less fortunate, serve others instead of waiting around to be served, gracious with those who don't see eye-to-eye with them.
It doesn't matter if that church takes the form of a mega, simple/organic, traditional, or cell church. Nor does it matter what denominational background they come from. A true remnant of God's people can always be found within the gathering of believers who are truly seeking first His Kingdom, His righteousness, and His glory.
These people exist within every church I have ever known. They are the real church within the church.
What do you think?