Part II: Living as the Church
Before we begin, I’d like to start off by apologizing for not keeping up with our discussion on Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples by Francis Chan & Mark Beuving. The last few weeks have been extremely busy and draining for me, and it’s kept me from writing much of anything–besides what I’ve been writing in my personal notebook on my study of Romans.
With that being said, Week 4 of our discussion brought up some questions regarding my ministry and where my gifts and time would best be applied. I’ve made a few decisions in my life, some of which I’ve already revealed to my leaders and some of which I will soon be discussing with others. I pray that the same could be said for you; that the words that are being written here are not just for my benefit, but for yours as well; and that we’re all putting them into practice.
While Week 4 discussed the importance of being an active member in a local church, this week’s focus is on being actively involved–as a church–in reaching out to our community. Francis Chan states that “an inwardly focused church is an unhealthy church. It is a dying church. Biblically, a church that fails to look at the world around it is no church at all” (p. 66).
We are called, as believers, to reach out to our lost and dying world. Jesus, himself, said that His purpose on earth was to “seek and save the lost” and we are called to a similar purpose.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
“God has placed your church in the midst of a broader community so that He can spread His love, hope, and healing into the lives of the people around you” (Chan & Beuving, 2012, p. 66); and we do this out of the love for others that God has placed upon our hearts. Remember, the world will know that we belong to God based on our love (for God and for people) (John 13:34-35). Love must be our compelling force.
This means that have to step out of our comfort zone. We can’t keep our Christianity behind closed doors. We can’t keep the gift of Grace to ourselves! “If your church is not actively blessing the surrounding community, then you are ignoring God’s mission” and “if your church does not pursue God’s mission, then your community misses out on being exposed to the hope that God offers them in the gospel” (Chan & Beuving, 2012, pp. 74-75).
Francis Chan’s concludes with this statement:”There’s a reason God has you in this church at this point in history. You can help your church become an attractive community that exhibits Christ’s love, unity, and hope” (p. 75).
I listened to a message a few weeks ago by Beth Moore, as she talked about “God’s Purpose for Your Life in Your Generation,” and it’s what came to mind as I read Francis Chan’s conclusion. There are many of us in our churches with gifts and experiences which God has blessed us with and walked us through, which are very specific to the current generation in which we live. We may have all sorts of excuses that we use to prevent us from sharing those gifts or experiences, but God is asking that we use them! I understand that sometimes we feel inadequate, held back by others, frustrated, or even judged; but within us lives the power of the Holy Spirit! The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us! He empowers us, strengthens us, and qualifies us for the roles He has for us.
I’m sure you’ve heard the statement, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” It’s so true! God has been preparing you and I for a particular purpose, over time God will reveal that purpose to us and when He does, it’s our job to be obedient and take action regarding that purpose. We need to find the roles to which we are called within our church and community and step into them in obedience, faith, and, most importantly, love.