all people will see it together….Isaiah 40:5
The church is the force which God has chosen to reach the world for Christ. Whenever she forgets her role in God’s divine plan, the world loses sight of who Christ is, because she no longer directs them to HIs glorious light. The church, the people of God have a divine calling to go into the world and make disciples of all nations.
The church is a place where the whole body is an extended family of families. When one hurts, the whole body hurts. When one family suffers, the entire body feels the weight of their grief. The problem is that we have fragmented ourselves from true fellowship. We do not know what community is because we believe God is more concerned with our “personal relationship” with Him than with our commitment to growing community with the family of God.
Do you personally need to make a decision for Christ? Yes, of course, that is absolutely essential, but from there, you now become part of a community with a mission for God bigger than you alone can accomplish. Could it be that the church lacks the power it was meant to have, not because God is unable to give it, but because His people have individualized themselves with inside the walls of the church?
Could it be that our desire to keep ourselves separate from other denominations with our meaningless quibbles over menial doctrines have polarized us? Far enough from each other that the power of Christ with the body of believers has been stifled because we prioritize preference over mission? If your church prefers serving communion every Sunday and mine only once a quarter should that really keep us from the mission of God together?
I truly believe one of the greatest distractions within the church has been our own desire to win an argument with other believers. I remember a number of years ago attending a bible study with other friends in Christ and each week we would debate about infant baptism. I kept thinking, wow, what are we doing? What if a non-Christian walked in here? They would never say these people are unified with a shared mission, they would say, “These people are crying over their own opinions and I find no reason to belong to such a group as this.”
Did Jesus debate? Yes, absolutely, but never in a way that kept people off the mission of God. Jesus was establishing a kingdom community. I would like to suggest that we are establishing our own kingdoms and calling it, “church,” or our own “personal relationship with God.” Until we too make the kingdom community our mission we will miss out on seeing the power of God lived out in the body of believers for God’s glory.
Father, many times the biggest problem in the church is not the style of worship, the color of the carpet or the choice of when and if we should do Sunday school, but people who are more concerned with personal preference than Christ. Forgive us, we have made church about us and not about you. Jesus, I long to see a movement of revival in my day. Raise up your people, we long to see your glory in Jesus name, Amen!