During a conversation with a pastor friend he made an interesting comment. He said, “I think some people love being a Christian but they don’t love the church.” I’ve been thinking about that observation lately.
I’m committed to being a pastor dedicated to disciplemaking and mission. As I’ve been studying and implementing a culture of missional living through the local church I agree with a simple description of a missional community that it’s “small enough to care and big enough to dare.” God has designed His church to be a community, an extended family. This community is created to function together, even in our differences, to advance the kingdom of God by sharing the Good News of the Gospel. We are to do this as a cooperative body caring and daring in discipling relationships. See 1 Corinthians 12:21-31 for some teaching on how we work together in the local church with different gifts and abilities.
What does it look like to be together as a community? Here are few basic things that should be consistent with any church, according to New Testament teaching. We are to be modeled after the family unit (fathers, mothers, children, etc.), we are to have appointed leaders (elders & deacons), we are to engage in our community, pray for our governmental leaders, show not-yet-believers how to live in harmony while defending the Gospel through clear doctrinal teachings, worship and preaching, and more.
Jesus prayed (John 17) that we would all be in unity. His desire is that we share the same unity that he has with his Father; that we would be strengthened as we engage the world around us. We live in a fragile world, we serve with fragile people, and we work best when we follow God’s plan for the church. Let’s pray for our church leaders and pastors and strive to eliminate a spirit of independence.
I love being a Christian because I have humbly accepted a free gift called grace. I love the church because God has chosen me to join others in building His kingdom…together! As we move forward, caring and daring, let’s do it with unity and a spirit of reliance and cooperation with the Holy Spirit as members of the body of Christ, the church.