There’s more than one way to refer to and relate to a church. Consider the following perspectives.
That church. “Yes, I’ve heard about that church,” a person might say. “I’ve heard that church has great ministries for children and students. I’ve heard that church is really committed to missions. I’ve heard that church has spirit-anointed musical worship and solid biblical teaching.”
But have you ever been there? Have you ever checked it out and experienced it personally? “Well, no. I’ve just heard about that church.”
This church. The perspective changes when you are able to say, “This is my first time to visit this church.” Or, as a regular-attender you might say, “I love the friendliness of this church, and my family has begun to benefit personally from the ministries of this church.” You might even begin to say, “I really feel at home at this church.”
A “this church” perspective implies first-hand, personal knowledge and experience. “I am well acquainted with this church.
My church. The perspective changes even more when you are able to say, “This is my church. I am no longer merely an attender, I have made a commitment to be a member. I love my church. I worship with my church. I participate in a group at my church. I serve in my church. I invest financially in my church.”
The “my church” perspective reflects growing spiritual maturity and biblical obedience. It’s a commitment that honors the Lord and that says, “I’m ‘all in’ at my church; you can count on me.”
The Lord’s church. Of course, at an even deeper theological level, we would say that it is the Lord’s church. He bought it with his blood (Acts 20:28), He guides and directs it as “the head” (Col. 1:18), and He builds it for his glory (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 3:21).
So what about you? Do you have a church you consider “that church”? Or has it become “this church”? Or is it now “my church”?