The dictionary as well as most of the world defines the church as ‘a building used for public Christian worship’. I spent the majority of my life believing this was the true and only definition of church. And, although yes, the building we meet in on Sunday mornings is called a “church”, in reality it is so much more. The church is the people, the believers in Christ who seek to worship together. When we remove ourselves from the four walls that tend to confine our worship we see the full extent of what this body of believers truly is. This is one of the reasons I love having church outside the restrictions of a building from time to time, as a remembrance that when Christians gather in the name of Christ, God is always with them.
I was blessed to attend such a service on Sunday by going to a student-led service that has started here on campus. The leaders decided to hold it outside, on the hillside, and despite the semi-chilling temperatures it was an amazing time of worship. There was singing and an honest and heart-felt sermon preached. A sense of freedom was evident as we were encouraged to respond at the end by singing, praying with one another, or even drawing. It was a beautiful reminder of the amazing God we serve and the wonderful freedom and blessings we have here at Nyack College as we sang our hearts out in the center of the campus for all of Nyack to hear. Especially as the school year is coming to an end it was nice to be able to escape from the paper-writing and other final preparations and just be outside and freely worshiping our God.
This is only one specific example of some of the different churches I have been a part of during my time here at Nyack, but there have been many others. This school is a coming together of many different denominations and cultural backgrounds which opens the door for varying styles of worship and church services. I have been a part of many more creative services since being here including different means of worship such as using flags, dancing, drama, art, and others. There is a certain freedom to worship God in many new and creative ways that I had not so much experienced growing up in my own church. I have come to see that church is more than just going to a building, sitting, singing, listening, and leaving. It is corporately worshiping our father through our whole being and using the varying gifts he has given us to do so.