I saw a fun picture the other day on Facebook; it was of a man using an iPad. The fun part of the picture was that it was the wife sharing that her husband bought her an iPad for Christmas, but he seemed to be the one using it the most. I am sure none of you have ever bought someone else a present so that you could get a chance to use it, right?
This actually made me think about the church. Our church, but also the universal Church. The question in my mind was: who is the church for?
In a sense, the church is similar to this iPad. The church is a gift from God to us, the participants in the church. The church is here to be a community of believers going through life together. It is to be a place of challenging growth and grace-filled comfort. Yet, as the church builds a caring community, God is glorified. Our calling is to accept the responsibility of this local church. We are to care for it, support it, treat it like it belongs to us, but always recognizing all the church does is for God’s glory and not our own.
However, in another sense the church is not a gift for us. The church should be considered a gift for the unchurched. In Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus calls his followers to love your neighbor and your enemy. He says even sinners love those who love them. Living out God’s love means loving those who have not loved you. I think this can easily remind us that if a church only loves itself and its members, then it is not showing the love of God. A church should be loving and caring for those outside of the church just as much, if not more, than those inside.
Again, our calling as participants in this church is to accept responsibility of this church, then remember our focus is to ask not only how can I grow in my faith through the church, but also how can we be a church for the unchurched.
In January we will be focused on renewing our passion for our mission and discipleship process. We will also look at our church wide goal for 2018 which is to identify and tear down barriers so that people can more easily enter into and move through our discipleship process. We want to grow in helping people inside and outside our church take their next step of faith. This may mean we need to strengthen some ministries and make some adjustments in others.
I hope you will help in this goal by sharing the barriers that you see keeping people from taking their next step in faith and then develop solutions. Together we can continue to make Christ Church a place where people experience God’s love in worship, develop relationships in small groups and revive the world through service, all for the glory of God.