"You are the church"

I think it’s common in churches (although it hasn’t really happened here) for people to approach the pastor and say, “You should do this…” or “The church should do that…” I see one problem with this, and it’s not that people want to see certain ministries; if it agrees with Scripture that’s actually a good thing. The problem is when the people expect the pastor or the church to do it instead of thinking of doing it themselves. I want to respond by saying, “You want the church to do it? You are the church, what do you think about doing it?”

Here are four recent examples of people taking initiative in our church to do things themselves.

  • Julie Reardon wanted to have an outreach on Halloween passing out bags with tracts and church cards.
  • Lori Anderson wanted to do the landscaping in front of the church.
  • Dave and Shirley Reed wanted to begin a ministry for the elderly in the church.
  • Allan and Kandie wanted to have a game night in the fellowship hall.

These people came to me and wanted to see these things take place, but they saw themselves as part of the church and they took it on themselves to do it. They wanted the leadership’s approval and then they were off and running. This is exactly how I love to see ministry in the church taking place and I think this is what the Bible prescribes. In Eph 4:10-13 Paul said, “Jesus gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” The idea is the members of the church should be equipped so they can go out and do the work of the ministry.

By the way, this is why our services have a stronger focus on equipping, teaching, etc as opposed to being exclusively evangelistic. We present the Gospel, but we’re trying to provide the saints with the tools they need to serve God.

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2 thoughts on “"You are the church"

  1. I appreciate this article and how the church is serving one another at Woodland Christian Church. It’s been encouraging to be around you guys. Thanks for being open and welcoming to visitors. 🙂

    The gospel isn’t only for evangelism. It’s also for the Christian. I read this article today and thought it was helpful and explains being gospel centered. http://www.challies.com/christian-living/living-gospel-centered

    from the article:
    I like how Joe Thorn phrases it: “The gospel-centered life is a life where a Christian experiences a growing personal reliance on the gospel that protects him from depending on his own religious performance and being seduced and overwhelmed by idols.”

    Joe points out four fruits of a gospel-centered life:

    Confidence (Heb. 3:14; 4:16)
    When the gospel is central in our lives we have confidence before God – not because of our achievements, but because of Christ’s atonement. We can approach God knowing that he receives us as his children. We do not allow our sins to anchor us to guilt and despair, but their very presence in our lives compels us to flee again and again to Christ for grace that restores our spirits and gives us strength.

    Intimacy (Heb. 7:25; 10:22; James 4:8)
    When the gospel is central in our lives we have and maintain intimacy with God, not because of our religious performance, but because of Jesus’ priestly ministry. We know that Jesus is our mediator with God the Father and that he has made perfect peace for us through his sacrifice allowing us to draw near to God with the eager expectation of receiving grace, not judgment.

    Transformation (2 Cor. 3:18; 1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:13)
    When the gospel is central in our lives we experience spiritual transformation, not just moral improvement, and this change does not come about by our willpower, but by the power of the resurrection. Our hope for becoming what God designed and desires for us is not trying harder, but trusting more – relying on his truth and Spirit to sanctify us.

    Community (Heb. 3:12, 13; 10:25; 2 Tim 3:16, 17)
    When the gospel is central in our lives we long for and discover unity with other believers in the local church, not because of any cultural commonality, but because of our common faith and Savior. It is within this covenant community, if the community itself is gospel-centered, that we experience the kind of fellowship that comforts the afflicted, corrects the wayward, strengthens the weak, and encourages the disheartened.

    If a person or church is gospel-centered, it tells us that there are other things around which it is not centered. It is not tradition-centered (as, perhaps, fundamanetalist churches may be), it is not pragmatically-centered (as church growth churches often are), it is not culturally-centered as are so many churches today. It is the gospel that stands in the very center of the church or of the believer.

    So in my experience the gospel-centered Christian is simply the Christian who is always looking to the gospel as the power for change, who is holding up the gospel as his reference point. No matter the situation, he is looking to the gospel and asking, “How does the gospel apply to this?”

Do you have a question or thought? If so, please share!