CHURCH IS ABOUT PEOPLE In the past, I have used the word 'church' in ways I no longer believe are correct. I used to use the word 'church' to describe buildings or locations. I know now that the true meaning of the word 'church' incorporates many things, but not things, not buildings or places. At its heart, church is about relationships...with God and with people.
The primary relationship is the one which connects a Believer to God. This was the relationship that Christ's death and resurrection made possible. From this vertical relationship with God, comes the Power which strengthens the relationships between Believers.
The Holy Spirit empowers Believers to act supernaturally, the opposite of how we would naturally act. The Holy Spirit enables all Believers to connect, forgive and sacrificially love those whom we naturally would not. A healthy church is very similar to a healthy family. This dynamic, diverse and dedicated group of Believers in Jesus Christ form a pack seeking to do God's purpose here on earth- to love Him, obey Him, love others and share what Jesus has done for us!
CHURCH AS A VERB God's purpose for the church is revealed ministry. Church is not a static thing. It is an active organism. It is always doing something. Church is almost more verb than noun. We have been called out from a lost world, forged together in Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit. He empowers us individually and as a group to share in His good works. It is that sharing that is the gift of fellowship, having relationships with the Lord Jesus, His children and those who do not yet know Jesus.
I recognize now, there were times in the past when I sought to recruit people to fill ministry needs. Though I may have chosen that route for right reasons, my way of doing it overstepped God's work in the hearts of His children. I was selfishly concerned that a ministry may not be successful, if there were not enough workers. But, if I truly believed God was the Source of empowering a ministry, than I would have also believed He could do His work with any number of people. It was me who needed more people to do bigger things, not God.
GET TO VS HAVE TO Is the ministry or the work of the church different from the work of the world?
What if our ministry to others happens regardless of how many people work? What if it is profitable and successful because of God's strength and not our striving? After all, I'm only offering people an opportunity to serve others. He does the ministry through those who choose to participate, who get to participate. Simply stated, every ministry opportunity is a chance for us to work with God! The work or ministry is part of His perfect plan for us, good works He created before we ever even knew Him. (Eph. 2:8-10)
Ministry is not an obligation, but a privilege. If we choose not to work with God, His plans will still go forward. But, sadly we will miss out on the blessings God had for us.
THE CHOICES TODAY If you have never before understood or experienced church as this collection of relationships, today is the day!
Surrender the leadership of your life to Jesus Christ. Make Him Lord over all that you do and choose. Accept that His death on the Cross and His resurrection from the dead was to atone for YOUR sins and to save YOU from a life of slavery to sinful desires. Allow God to begin transforming you into all He created you to be. Yield to His work in teaching you how to love, trust and obey His instruction in the Bible.
If you have been connected to a church family, but have not yet been blessed through participation in ministry, then today is that day!
Seek where God is moving and join Him there. Start ministries by finding things you can do and do them in the Name of Jesus.
May the Lord Bless you and keep you this day and every day after.
"Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you..." MATT 28:19-20a NLT