Yeah, sure, the easy answer would be to say, “Both.” But is isn’t a single fish, now is it? The individual fishes in formation present the image of a fish, but image isn’t always reality.
Looking like a fish doesn’t make it a fish. Certainly, it would smell like a fish and feel like a fish, too, with all those individual fishes—but that still doesn’t make it a fish.
So, too, a bunch of people who are Christians together in one place doesn’t make a church. A congregation, perhaps, but not a church. Doesn’t matter how much it looks like a church, smells like a church, sounds like a church or feels like a church. Because the things that make a church a church are not the people nor appearances, but something altogether of another realm.
Faith. Spirituality. Devotion.
Jesus told us:
Wherever two or more gather in my name there I am in their midst.
Christianity contains “Christ” but it is not Jesus’ name. Jesus’ name was not “Christianity” and it wasn’t even “Christ.” Christ is a title, not a name. People who gather in buildings because of Christianity aren’t necessarily making up a church. Because unless Jesus is at the heart of it, it’s just a get-together.