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.
We are beginning a new series on “Becoming Like Family” as our online community begin to share the daily challenges with friends, and we begin to gather our larger community together.
Why would we bother? One survey found that 59% of 18-29 year old Americans with a Christian background dropped out of church. Four-in-ten American young adults with a Christian background (43%) believe going to church and having Christian friends is optional.
It’s clear that not everyone feels it’s essential, and with our use of technology to form a new church, you might think we mean to simply form an “online” church where no one ever meets in person. But we believe it’s essential. We believe church is essential, but to be clear, we are talking about a community of people.
We’re not saying going to a building is essential
We’re not saying attending a particular kind of worship service with particular kinds of music is essential
Those might be good things. But they are things that churches do, not what makes them a church in the first place.
We want to ensure our church community will have five main characteristics. The first was learning common things about discipleship, and we explored that last week. The second, this week’s focus, is to be spending time in community together.
Some churches do this at bake sales, ham suppers, and such. For us, it will happen in groups that meet regularly to discuss how they’re growing as followers of Jesus. We’ll grow and learn together. Yes, we’ll be learning focused, but we’re also supposed to be a functioning community, a fellowship, in both small groups, and as a large group.
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, it takes a church to raise a follower of Jesus.
Question: Why do you think people might avoid joining a church today? Have you been part of a church before? Why or why not?
Reminder: The Following Jesus course in Whitby starts tomorrow – visit https://www.redeemthecommute.com/events/following-jesus-course-whitby-2013-11-05/
Reminder: Last week we saw the importance of reading the Bible together in sync, so our new daily bible readings start today in our mobile app and web site.
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.