This is our new series on becoming like family. There are five main characteristics of the kind of community we’re forming. The first one:
Discipleship – what we’re learning together as a community. Here’s our guidance from the Bible on this characteristic. Comes from Paul, one of the first to start new church communities in the cities around the Mediteranean., reflecting here on what it means to be a church made up of different kinds of leaders and people, all learning the same thing.
The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ (Ephesians 4:11-15
Yesterday, I told you about having attended homecoming at the university where I studied engineering. Naturally enough, first year engineering students tend to think they will all end up in engineering careers. My experience, however, was that after graduating we end up in all sorts of professions. My own class includes actual engineers, but also those in business, consulting, full-time parenting, doctors, lawyers, rock climbing gym owners, urban planners, even running mobile apps for commuters.
But some common threads emerge – we have learned to think analytically to solve complex and diverse problems that might not have been anticipated.
We have a similar aim in discipleship. The point is not that all followers of Jesus will become automatons with no discernible differences. They are simply to have the same aim, purpose in mind, to learn to follower Jesus Christ and apply that to the many challenges of life. The idea is not to memorize rules, but learn maturity in Christ.
We can see this diversity in the five types of work in the church listed here. There are other lists, as well, but we’ll just use this example.
Teacher – Helps others study the Bible and learn to follow Jesus.
Shepherd – Helps others live as a follower of Jesus, through close relationships.
Evangelist – Tells the story of the good news of Jesus Christ in compelling ways.
Apostle – Develops and leads new church communities that reach new people and places.
Prophet – Tells it like it is, speaks for God’s interests when there is injustice and sin.
Question: Which of these five do you understand the least? Why might it be necessary?
Coffee Hours this Week:
Have questions about the challenges, do you want to meet others exploring the same content, or connect with Ryan?
Join us for our coffee shop drop-in tomorrow night, Wednesay, October 30th from 7:30pm-9:00pm at the Starbucks in the Ajax Chapters. Look for Ryan Sim in the drink line, or a Redeem the Commute postcard on a table.
Every family has routines and values, and these are closely connected. Take suburban family life as an example. On the surface, we can see routines: wake, eat, drop-off at daycare/school, commute to work, work, commute home, pickup kids, make and eat dinner, get everyone to bed, and repeat.
But we have to ask what values are behind that. Why do families move to the suburbs? There are choices, you could live in country, or the city. Why here?
For some, it’s where they grew up. Others want to be close to parents, or want their kids to have a yard of a certain size, or to be near nature.
Whatever the values, we chose the routine because of those values.
Yesterday, we saw Jesus shake up his family routine because he was pursuing a higher value. He called it the will of his Father in heaven. We have called these kingdom values, and it can be distilled down to loving God, and loving neighbour.
Jesus is challenging the extended family norms of his day, and replacing them with a new one. A new kind of family. With this new family will come new routines, all because of those founding values.
The other direction works, too.
We are trying to instill some routines in my family like saying a prayer before a meal (grace), asking our son the best and worst part of day, so we can say thanks to God in prayer, and ask for help or say sorry for the low parts of the day. We also read a Bible story and say a prayer at bed. We do this in hopes that our son will learn some values from those routines.
Let’s start simple, and look just at what it means to love God, and love neighbour.
Question: Based on the values of love God, love neighbour, what do you think Jesus’ family routines would be like? What could your immediate family’s routines look like?
This series looks at becoming “like family” with others learning to follow Jesus. We're exploring how the church is not a building, institution or event, but a community of people. It's important that explore what church means as we prepare to launch a new church in Ajax in 2014.