I have this picture of Jesus and his disciples sitting around a blazing fire on the Judean countryside, with a full moon lighting up the sky and a crisp, cool desert breeze whipping up the flames. I see Jesus and his men laughing, joking and telling stories. I love that image. It’s been with me for the past few years because of my own experience.

In the midst of a dark time in my life, I discovered a group of people who loved and believed in me and my family. For hours at a time, we sat around a fire in the woods of Colorado and cried, laughed and loved each other. I stayed in the ministry because of them.

I love the Church of Christ. I’m not in love with the institution of the Church (though I believe in it), but I am in love with the real Church! The Church is the people! I love the people. Jesus loves the people. When Jesus says, “I will build My church,” He wasn’t speaking of an organization but the organism, the people, He would build.

I might not be on this earth right now if it weren’t for the people of God, the Church. I recall in high school, as a partying, rebel rousing, womanizing teen, it was the Jesus followers of my senior class that challenged me to rethink my life.

In college, just as I was falling into depression over a potential career ending athletic injury, a group of committed “Jesus freaks,” showed me love and gave me hope.

On Sunday morning, as hundreds of us wholeheartedly worshipped together at The Road, I was again reminded that I truly love the Church! I hope you’ve experienced the real Church—the people. If not, keep pressing in, keep giving, keep loving. The Church needs you and you need the Church.

Alive because of the Church,

Steve

Steve Holt M.A., D.D.

My newest book, Worshipper Warrior, can be found at www.steveholtonline.org 

and www.amazon.com