Over forty years ago we were given the granddaddy of all winter squashes. It sat nearly two feet high on its belled bottom, but would have been much higher if the neck had been straight. Instead the neck bent over and made a nifty handle to carry it by, which helped a lot since it must have weighed about twenty pounds.
We really enjoyed that squash. It was the sweetest winter squash we ever ate, and as long as you were eating on the neck, you could cut off what you needed and just cover the end with plastic wrap until the next time. Only when you reached the bell did you need to go ahead and scrape out the seeds and cook it all.
So last year we decided to look for seeds for that squash. We are now living over a thousand miles south of where we lived back then, and we could not even remember the name of the person who gave it to us. We sent letters up to old friends and they had never seen or heard of anything matching its description. Turns out the name we thought we remembered was not really a name, either. "King" squash was evidently someone's description of this behemoth which they considered the "king" of all squashes.
So we gave up on the name and started reading descriptions in seed catalogues. Most had nothing even close. The same old butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squashes filled the catalogue pages. Finally we found a catalogue that specialized in heirloom varieties. They had something called a Cushaw that was long and weighed about the right amount. The neck was straight and just as thick as the body, so that wasn't quite right, but it was the closest thing we could find. So we ordered some seeds. The color wasn't right when the vine finally bore fruit. But we didn't give up on it until we had cooked it and eaten it. This was not the "king" squash we had enjoyed so many years ago.
So we tried again. This time we scoured the internet. A friend became interested and decided to help and he is the one who finally found it. He didn't find it by the name "squash." He found it by the name "pumpkin." And we came to learn that there isn't one name for this vegetable, just several descriptions. It's a "neck pumpkin" because of the long, curved neck, or it's a Pennsylvania Dutch crookneck squash, once again because of the curved neck, but also because of its origins. I use it like squash and I use it like pumpkin, and it fits nearly any recipe for those things as long as you follow the cooking instructions.
Seems to me that the same things can be true of the New Testament church. I know people who have found it, not by the sign by the highway, but by matching what it does with what the church in the Bible did. Not by matching a creed, or a preacher, or even a "name," but by whether or not it followed God's law. Just cut it open, take a taste and see. If you go out looking for a name on a sign, you can still find the wrong thing. If you look only at the outside, you can miss it altogether. It's the inner workings, the body of Christ following its head, the bride of Christ in subjection to the bridegroom, the vine bearing the fruit of the Spirit, the building built on the proper cornerstone and foundation.
It can be done. I know people who have. It's up to us to be that body, to match the description and taste like the real thing so that anyone who does come looking can find us.
But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. (1Cor 14:24-25)