Thursday, October 29, 2009

Corporate Disciples?

Good morning God,

What is the Church for? I ask because that question seemed to run throughout the day yesterday, and it had all the hallmarks of one of YOUR questions rather than one of mine!

It started with a conversation about Pastoral Care - and the emphasis that we choose to place on caring for our members. It DOES matter that we visit the sick and the elderly, that we maintain fellowship, but do we remember why we do it - or do we simply do it because its what the Church does. I suspect we presume that those we visit already know you and love you God, that they have no need to be 'saved'..

Then there was the conversation with one Church member who is concerned about the way in which the Biblical histories are read and believed. The Bibles credits you with initiating various acts of war and bloodshed, particularly with regard to the lands in the Middle-East, but are these the acts of a God of love? The conversation was really about what the Church teaches and what people are supposed to get out of it. Is that what the Church is for - to enlighten people - or not?

And then, last night, at a finance meeting - the question was properly asked - are there other ways in which we can increase our income..

What is the Church for...? To meet the needs of those who belong to it, attend it and pay for it.. or to reach out to those who do not know you, to proclaim the Good News to those who have never heard it, and to give cheerfully to those who have nothing?

I know its not an 'either-or' situation, but I suspect most Churches ARE more focused on meeting the needs of its members than they are on seeking the lost, (even the lost in their own congregation!)

But that's right isn't it?

It is the task of the gathered Church to build one another up in love so that each member can engage in evangelism, discipleship and charity in every part of their life - not just at set times when the Church has commissioned, authorised or appointed them to do it!

The Church gathers to enable your people to grow in grace, so that they can respond to you in grace, and serve you in the WORLD (not just in the Church) It is not the task of the gathered Church to DO the work of the disciple, but to raise up disciples who will do the work of Christ.

So help me God, please, to work with the Church to break the 'corporate' responsibility mentality which makes the 'church' the focus of Christian Kingdom expectations so that we can rediscover and release the potential of personal discipleship to reshape and remake your world according to your will.

1 comment:

  1. The Holy Spirit lives in the heart of each of God's children. Given the Spirit's desire to spread the Name of Jesus to the ends of the earth, for there is no name under heaven by which persons are saved, personal evangelism is a necessary outpouring of a geninue faith within.