Would you lead an underground church? Here in North America, it is only a hypothetical question. However, I am referring to many parts of the world where underground churches seem valid.

For example, in Nigeria, field workers tell us on average four to six churches a week are burnt or bombed by the Boko Haram or the Fulani Herdsman.

The destruction of church buildings is routine, yet, the believers in Nigeria rebuild their buildings, only to have the structure destroyed again. Why?

For the Nigerian believers, as well as many believers elsewhere around the earth, the building is a major part of Christianity. The thinking is, you cannot have a “real church” without a building.

You personally may or may not agree with that thought. I am bewildered by this reasoning.

You know the old cliché, the church is the people, not the building. Are you ever amazed how much identity is attached to the building? Building identity often exceeds reality.

Our identity is in a person! With Jesus, our identity is not in a building; Jesus never had a building. With Jesus, our identity is not in the size of the congregation; Jesus had a church of 12 (11 really).

With Jesus, our identity is not in our wealth or income; Jesus owned nothing. Jesus is our identity.

In nations like North Korea, the church is underground. For many years the church in China was underground and grew at a record pace.

Today, the church in Iran is underground and growing in double-digit percentage figures each year. What do you need legitimately when called a church? All you need is Jesus, whether your people are 12 or 12,000.

Thank you for praying for the persecuted church!

Kim Wenzel is a local Open Doors USA ministry representative who speaks in churches and groups about praying for the persecuted church. For more information, persons interested may contact Wenzel at pastorkimwenzel@gmail.com or 918-919-1490. Hear more about the persecuted church at 6 p.m., every Saturday on KWXC 88.9 FM Christian talk radio.