In my last post I spoke of fasting and the need to examine our hearts in ensuring that God is number 1 in our lives. Too often we allow “things” to get in the way of our relationship with God and we wonder why we ‘feel’ so distant and disconnected from Him.
Another aspect I have been challenged about recently was the role of the church and more specifically what my role in the church is. The church is commissioned with the privilege and vital mission to preach/teach the Gospel and make disciples of Jesus Christ around the world.
I had an intriguing chat with a good friend of mine recently who said he feels the chief role of the church is to encourage one another. He uses 1 Corinthians Chapters 12 – 15 as a basis for his reasoning. Whilst a healthy and critical function of the church is to encourage one another, clearly I feel it holds the grander purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ, ie seeing people come to faith and mature in their faith being conformed into the likeness of Christ (Rom 8:29). That is ultimately the sign of a healthy church. Not the number of participants, or how ‘good’ the music or presentation is. It the development of the spiritual maturity of people and their relationship with God. Encouragement of one another is vital in seeing that grander purpose achieved, but we must never forget why we become part of a church family and invest into it.
However in seeing the church make disciples of Jesus through faithful teaching of the Word and equipping people with the Gospel message, we need to acknowledge our specific roles within the church. In order for the church to be better equipped to serve it’s ultimate function, we need to do more then just encourage one another. We need to build one another up in our faith. That can take lots of forms, but effectively we can only mature in our faith through investing into each others lives and learning from each other through the Word and practically living it out within the context of grace filled relationships, ie helping one another mature in our faith as we can’t do it on our own… we all have specific struggles and ALL need help. To go to church and just sit in the pew is a waste and unloving to one another, let alone the Lord we serve!
In saying that there will be times we need to take a step back, as we can’t be fully engaged all the time. We may need to recharge the batteries or ensure our families are in order etc. However the church needs everyone doing their role, whether large or small, so that as a collective body it can function as God intends.
So let me finish by challenging you with what you are doing in your church. Are you committed to a church family, or are you ‘hopping around’ from church to church until you find what pleases you? Are you sacrificing your time and resources in order to see the church grow and gospel message invested into people’s lives? Or don’t you think you have what it takes, or are not ‘talented’ enough?
One of the blessings of being a Christian and trusting in Jesus with our lives, is that you don’t know what God is preparing or equipping you for. All we know is that it’s good according to His eternal purposes. We mustn’t lose out on the blessings of investing in what lasts for eternity because we fear we are not up to it or we can’t be bothered. God will always give us what we need to serve Him. Let’s try to faithfully follow Him and see what He can equip us to do so that others may enjoy the spiritual riches He has for them, not to mention us!