Church Was Never About That Building

By Emily Stults-Estrella

In December of 2014 I walked into the Tehachapi Mountain Vineyard and I knew deep down that something in my life had shifted. I was taken aback by the worship and overwhelmed by the generosity and overall sense of togetherness that surrounded the room. I was completely hooked from that moment on. Since then I have continued to come every Sunday with the exception of a weekend here and there. I plugged into community, into ministry, and ran heart first into the TMV life. Walking into the building was like coming home every Sunday. I may or may not have even been known to come to morning worship rehearsal in my slippers.

All of this to say, for the last six years I thought there was something so special about our building. The way I’ve experienced the Lord in the sanctuary, in my Kid’s ministry room, and from behind the microphone seemed to back that up. What I am about to say doesn’t discredit that there is something so beautiful and so spirit filled about our building, there isn’t any denying that, but if these last few months have shown me anything, it’s that it was never about our building.

The love that was so prominent on a Sunday morning, was the love that each of us has in gathering together to worship our mighty, mighty King. It was never about the “where”, but has always been the “who”. The community of our church is what creates the safety, the love, the joy, and the spirit that surrounds a Sunday morning.

During this time of our building needing to be closed we have continued to step out in love, faith, and community. We have shown that the love of Jesus is not contained behind walls, but lives within and through us. The community of the Tehachapi Mountain Vineyard has fostered a new way of doing Church, not one that we asked for, but one that God gave us.

In Genesis 1:28 God says “Let us make man in our image after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens.” Read that sentence again and notice the beauty of the word “our”. This use of “our” indicates to us how God lives in community and fellowship with the Spirit and the Son. So much so that he conversed with them about the creation of man. If this doesn’t show us the love and respect that God holds and has in his plan for community, then I’m not sure what else does.

I believe our church already embodies a community outline. It’s what I felt six years ago, God communing with us, and us communing with one another. So in this time let’s dive deeper into fellowship with one another. Let’s not get weary in this season and become isolated, but instead chase after the type of love for one another that is evident with our communal God. Don’t get lazy or tired in our pursuit to show the love of Christ from our homes. Let’s make sure that when this season changes, no one leaves it saying it was a time of loneliness. We already do this well, church. Let’s keep it up.

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