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.
Yesterday we defined worship as giving worth to God, or in other words, acknowledging he is at the center of our lives, or we want him there if he isn’t.
Worship is about practicing God’s Presence. We can forget God is there in our busy lives, and something tangible can help. A friend of mine mentioned Elf on the Shelf on Facebook. Elf on the Shelf is a small elf doll that parents are supposed to hide somewhere in the house every night, claiming he is a “scout elf” who reports back to Santa. The elf becomes a visible symbol for small children who might forget that Santa is watching.
Worship is meant to be a visible symbol for those of us who might forget God is watching.
In the busyness of our everyday lives, we cannot always remember that God is with us. In spite of our best intentions we may find ourselves living and acting without regard to the fact that God is present in every aspect of our lives.
Sometimes we think something in our lives is coincidence, but God is actually doing something incredible. Sometimes we will find resources are suddenly supplied that we needed, and will think it was luck or our skills, when it was in fact God’s provision.
We want to develop an increasing sensitivity to God’s presence with us. We know that we develop skills and get better at things by practicing: an old saying reminds us practice makes perfect. It would be more truthful to say that practice reinforces, but in this case reinforcement is good enough. We need a way to reinforce our awareness of God’s presence in our lives.
Question: When have you seen God working in the last week? What seeming coincidences were there?
Reminder: Earlier in this series, 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.