EIGHTEEN: The Oxymoron In The Church

Posted By: Tim Mannin
ENTRY ELEVEN in our writing series, EIGHTEEN, which is all about some of in's and out's of this church.

I find oxymoron’s entertaining. They may not always make you laugh out loud (yes I spelled LOL out), but usually they’ll bring a small inner chuckle that happens inside your brain. Oxymoron’s represent small ironic contradictions in life. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Jumbo Shrimp
  • Unbiased Opinion
  • Pretty Ugly
  • Books on CD
  • Driveways and Parkways
  • Microsoft Works (wink, wink)
  • Country Music (hehe!)

See…you are at least inner chuckling right now. They’re sort of funny.

So there is an oxymoron in the church. It’s been present for some time now…and unfortunately it’s not a funny one. It’s an understanding of the church that is a difficult one for most of us to overcome. The oxymoron is this – Church Building.  


What do I mean? Church buildings are real places. Okay, so think of it this way…the place that our faith is most engaged is typically a location that has pews, altars, crosses, and video screens or hymnals, depending on the type of building you attend. Some buildings have steeples and others look like schools or warehouses. But most importantly all churches have walls.

Sadly, our definition of a church is often reduced to being within the walls of a building. I find this challenging in the context of my own life and job as I can easily work within the walls day after day doing “the work” of the Church.  I’m realizing that the more I stay within the walls of the church the more disconnected I become the generation who is not in the church.

I’m want to make sure we have a healthy perspective about the Church. The Church does and should include an actual place to worship. The sanctuary, or House of Worship, is important in the makeup of the community of believers. But is it possible that have we over emphasized the identity of the Church as a place rather than about being the body of Christ? The Church is a living organism that is created for movement; it should breathe into the community and flow into the cracks of society.

Walls are more than physical reminders of the struggling definition of the Church, but symbolically the walls restrict, confine, define, and separate. Walls are some of the most real things that exist for the church today. 

So what are we supposed to do with this reality?
Well, there are a couple things we want OKC Community to do with this.

  1. Always remember the Church (big ‘C’)is the community of believers and not an institution or place. The church (little ‘c’) is a local church that may include a building and walls, but is purposed for the larger mission of the Church.
  2. Realize that your first priority in serving the 'Church' and the 'church' is to serve outside the walls of the church building.

When you serve your neighbors, your city, the people you work with, or your kid’s school with the heart and intentionality of sharing the love of Jesus you are serving the cause of the Church. Sure, we want you to be involved in things like—serving our kids ministry, being on one of our teams, or helping lead worship, but when you serve solely in the walls of the church you’ve bought into the myth that serving the Church is about one thing that happens in a building.

You may have heard this idea before…but have you lived it yet?
Be the Church.
Serve the Church…anywhere, anytime, for anyone.