In May’s newsletter I wrote about God’s purpose for our church and how many churches tend toward being a “nice Christian church.” In June’s newsletter I wrote about how Jesus framed His ministry in terms of being Kingdom-focused versus church-focused.
While being Kingdom-focused is critical, realize the church is profoundly special to God because it is the Bride of Christ. So, there is a dual reality that exists: we “are the bride” and we must also be “doing” the work of the Kingdom. See, God has left His bride (the church) in the world for a “doing” purpose — helping others become followers of Jesus and representing God to a broken world.
So this month let me ask a question. Does what we “do” as a church look the same from church to church? Or to re-frame that question: should every church in our community look exactly alike?
Here is my short answer: every church who claims to follow Jesus has the same purpose and mission, but the each will have different roles that are unique to the Kingdom of God. Look at Acts 1:8 as it reveals a directive from Jesus, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The intent of that directive doesn’t mean that every disciple was going to focus on every one of those four areas. It meant that some would focus on Jerusalem, some would need to go to Judea and some would be called to much farther places to be uniquely used to bring the gospel.
Matter of fact, each church would have different “flavor” based on who responded by faith and gathered together in each of those local churches. The Roman church was different than the church at Corinth, just as the church in Jerusalem was different from the church at Philippi. All had the same mission and purpose, but all had a unique flavor that adds to the Kingdom of God.
It is a fact that even the twelve tribes of Israel all had a unique purpose as God raised up that nation. It is also a biblical reality that each of us are gifted differently so that we complement one another in building His church and the Kingdom.
Those examples lead to some challenging questions that the elders and staff are trying to wrestle with in believing that God has assembled a group of people at GREFC for some key purposes in building the kingdom. Here are a few of the questions that the elder board and staff are wrestling with:
- What is our unique role that God is asking us to play as a local church for Kingdom purposes as it pertains to our community?
- What are the unique passions and giftings of people and the leadership here at GREFC that must be aligned to bring effective ministry within and outside the walls of this church?
- As God gives us wisdom and vision for our church body, what forms and systems need to be in place that will lead us to be effective in that unique vision?
The answers to these questions should lead us to a clear and aligned vision of what God wants for us as a church. We want to be able to communicate to people that this is “who we are” and what Christ “uniquely wants for us” as a church for His Kingdom. Pray for us as we desire that God would give us great clarity for this process.