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Rebuilding our concept of church

From the September 2022 issue of The Christian Science Journal

It can feel as though there are a lot of challenges to church that weren’t there fifty or sixty years ago. Now, it’s no longer a given that most people are involved in a religious community. There’s a lot in society that suggests that religion is no longer relevant in today’s world and that church is an outdated concept. More and more people are identifying themselves as “spiritual but not religious.”

It can be easy to unconsciously accept society’s current concept of church, allowing doubt to creep in about the value or efficacy of church and the work of church. How can we counter this in our own thoughts and see the healing impact church can have on communities today? How can we rebuild and uplift our own concept of church?

The Bible story of Nehemiah rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem can provide many helpful lessons as we explore these questions. It starts out with a simple request from Nehemiah to the king, one that he felt scared to make. But he prayed and then said, “If it please the king, . . . send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried” (Nehemiah 2:5, New Living Translation). The king gave him permission to go.