For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. (Matthew 18:20 NIV)
I was part of the team of youth and youth workers who went to the Today’s Teens Conference on Saturday, February 24. The conference ended with a 30 minute long worship time. What an experience it was worshipping God in song with 800 youth and youth workers. If ever there was a profound time of worship, it would have been then. It was more than the drums, electric guitar, vocalists and the screens. It was an awareness that the healing and saving God was present as we paid tribute to him in song. We definitely had a church experience then.
After the conference, Luke and I gave Marcia and Aiyanna a lift home. We were chatting in the car. It did not have the same “intensity” as the worship-in-song session we had at the conference. I wondered if the 4 of us chatting in the car was as much a church experience as the 800 worshipping at the conference previously. Then I realised that perhaps I was placing too much an emphasis on the sensational when I tried to define what the church experience was. Don’t get me wrong. I had a great experience of church and worship when the 800 people were worshipping God at the conference. However, Jesus did not say that we needed to wait until we have 800 people worshipping God before we have a church experience. Instead, he said this, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20 NIV) Jesus is not looking at the numbers or the sound system to say that we have a church experience. Instead, he says that it is not important how many meet. Even if 2 or 3 are gathered in his name (i.e. because of Jesus), he is there in the midst of them.