What does it mean to be a church?
The Scriptures teach that a church is a covenant community that is centered on God’s Word and Sacraments. This community is a church by virtue of its confession of the true faith, its proclamation of the gospel, its celebration of the sacraments, and its faithfulness in daily living. This is just another way of saying that a church is a community of people committed to God’s Word and Sacraments. This means that we are a church now. We are not trying to be a church. We are not pretending to be a church. We will not suddenly become a real church when we have fifty people in attendance or when we have a real church building. We will not become a real church when we have a sign out front or when our web site starts getting a hundred hits a day. We are a community of Christians. We have been baptized in the Triune Name. We are gathered to confess the ancient Christian faith, to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and to celebrate the Great Thanksgiving Meal, the Eucharist. And it is our intention to live faithful lives each day by the grace and mercy of God. Therefore, put away your doubts. This is an authentic, Christian Church where God is pleased to be present. And this is not because WE decided to do this or WE pushed the right buttons, said the right prayers, put the right clothes on or sung the right notes. Rather, God, in His infinite mercy has drawn us together through an innumerable series of events, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, He is now at this very moment drawing us up into the heavenly places. Do not doubt. Do not worry. Do not be proud. Do not be bitter or discontent with where you are. The church down the street with 300 members and the other one with a glorious building and all the other faithful are joining us now, and there is plenty of room and there are no second rate citizens. You are here by faith, and you are here in the righteousness of Christ. And that’s the point of it all. So drop everything else and come, worship the Lord.