Every year all the churches in the synod (southern half of Wisconsin) gather for a meeting in the Madision area. This is a time when we deal with the business of the larger church, approve synod budgets, elect people to go to national assemblies, and deal with resolutions about how the church should be active in the world.
Some of the business is exciting, some quite mundane. For me, the highlight of the assembly is spending a couple of days with classmates in the area and renewing relationships. This is a great time to sit down, catch up, and talk about waht is happening in our lives and the churches we serve.
But when I look at the business angle of the assembly, I keep thinking - is this really making a difference? I think the real work of the church doesn't take place in big meetings, but rather it takes place in homes, coffee shops, and malls. The real work of the church is where we gather with friends and strangers, help those in need, and share our love of Jesus by being present in someone's life, showing others what Christ means to us by what we do. This is what it means to "be" the church.
Now don't get me wrong, meetings have there place - we need to be organized to opportunites for others to grow in their lives of faith and empower others to experience the love of Christ in their lives. But this is not the end all be all of the what it means to be the church - it is only a starting point.
So as I pack up and prepare for two days of meetings, I pray that those gathered will find ways to reach others in their own communities, and that all of us may "be" church to those around us.