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.
This week we’re exploring the importance of meeting regularly with other Christians, as part of a church community, like Redeemer Church, the one we are forming through Redeem the Commute.
The Bible passage we’re exploring this week suggests two purposes to gathering: Encouragement and Worship. We’ll focus on worship next week, and for this week we’ll focus on the encouragement part.
Encouragement to what? Hebrews says community can encourage us to love and good works. First, what would it mean to be encouraged to love in a community? Think of the relationships that form through fun and fellowship. Our Movie Night is one example – we had a great time, and some online members met one another, and a neighbourhood. Our Wings & Trivia was the same, and our Christmas Event will be, too.
Honestly, are churches are meant to get along. I know someone who went to a church and attended a few worship services, and decided to join. But first, they wanted to attend a business meeting of a church – and he walked away saying, “these people don’t believe what they say.” They were not charitable, loving, kind or generous at all, even though they claimed to believe in a God who is.
The Church is meant to be a preview of the kingdom of God. It’s described in the Bible as a party – like we are already in heaven.
The Church is meant to love one another as themselves…even though the rest of the world may not love them the same way.
The Church is meant to care for one another with generosity of Christ, who died for his friends.
We could go on, but it all starts with spending time together, knowing each other’s needs, hopes, dreams, routine and more. Some people like to call this, “doing life together” even though it’s a bit clichéd.
Question: Go out for lunch, drinks or coffee with someone. When can you get together with your discussion group simply for fun? Or if you don’t have one yet, think of who you could share our challenges and discussion with, and start by simply inviting them to something fun.
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.