Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The 3-legged Church

The life of a biblically-healthy, God-honoring, transformational church takes place in three primary arenas:

1)   We worship together as a body on Sundays. The worship is biblically faithful and stylistically attractional. (Music is language and we want to speak more than 1!) The Word is proclaimed accurately with a challenge to do, not just know.  People respond to what is heard and seen. Sunday worship is our catalyst, reminding us of the awesome love of God, spurring us on to live out the disciples’ life, and convicting us to abandon all that hinders our relationship with our loving Savior. 

But we don’t simply “go to church”.  It is not a show or an event.  We are not mere spectators.  We are the church.  As such, we have a God-given, God-sized, God-empowered task to complete:

2)   We are sent out on mission to influence our world.  The church is both God’s people gathered and separated from the world, but also empowered and scattered back into the world as we fulfill the Great Commission.  In going, we learn dependence on the Spirit, we demonstrate our love for the Savior, and we bring glory to God.  The biblical church is on offense against the gates of hell, not defense against the fallen world.  The Church is not the purpose of the mission.  The Mission is the purpose of the church.

The bridge between the church gathered to worship and scattered to win the world is the small group (i.e. “Sunday School” or for us, “Life Groups”):

3)   We connect with other believers in small, biblical, community groups.  Our life groups are the arena where the Word is applied through prayer, teaching, discussion, and accountability.  As repentance and/or commitment is spawned by Sunday’s teaching, the Word takes root and grows through the good works done in community.  These smaller groups are the necessary connecting points between what is heard (through preaching and teaching) and what is done (ministry and mission).  It is also where discipling relationships are built where people are taught, challenged, and cared for.

All three components are necessary and all three must be in UNISON.  When these three biblical components are properly aligned, the church is ready to be a genuine instrument of transformation in our city and beyond.  A synergy develops that serves the overall mission of the church when everyone is pulling in the same direction for the same goals.

“When the gospel is lived out in community, we find our relationship in Jesus; we are compelled to worship God, love one another, and have compassion for the lost. We are transformed by the gospel, our communities become places we want others to experience.”
- Brad House, Community

This is how “church” is supposed to be. 

Are you worshipping God along with the body of Christ?  Are you hungry for Him and what He wants to say and do in in your life?  Are you experiencing His presence with others?  And, are you inviting others to come and discover this great God we love and serve?

Are you on mission in your sphere of immediate influence?  Are you involved in sharing Christ on a wider stage than just your immediate family and close friends?  Are you living out the purpose God made you for?

Are you connected with other believers that you know and know you?  Are you growing in Christ through study, prayer, and accountability?  Are you living out what you hear in intentional ministry?

If you are not connected in all three areas, you are missing out on what we are doing together as a church, but more importantly, you are missing out on what God is calling us all to do in our city and world.  This is real church – not where we go, but what we are.

Glad to be the church with you,

Pastor Paul

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