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.
So why do Christians gather to worship week in and week out? The answer is that there are at least three very good reasons: to acknowledge God’s presence and worth, to remember that we are not alone but part of a community that is growing and learning, and to offer a visible witness to ourselves and others. But when we gather to worship for these reasons, what do we do? We celebrate!
The keynote of worship is celebration. At times in its long and winding history the church has lost its sight of this. But that is what Sunday mornings are all about—celebrating who we know God is (wow—he is our Father) --celebrating what Jesus has done for us (wow—set us free from the consequences of our sin)---celebrating that can live in relationship with God through the power of the Holy Spirit (wow---we are not alone).
God is a God who throws parties. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Jesus told adults to keep their eyes on the children if they wanted to know what God is like. Left on their own, adults develop strange ideas of what worship should be. …in the purely adult world, God frequently comes across as a cranky old grandfather..but children seem to know instinctively that God likes celebration.
Christians are people who are called to live in community, and we are a community of learners. We need to realize how impossible it is to be a Christian on our own, not to mention half the fun.
As Redeemer Church comes together, we’ll have three approaches to worship, in order:
Personal: We encourage you to engage in prayer, particularly on Fridays. We also hope you’ll have personal moments of worship to thank God for what happens in your life day to day.
Small Groups: As you share our challenges with friends, we hope your Friday prayers will no longer be something quiet and personal but something you share with the team. Share the moments when God was at work in your life, and pray about them!
Celebration Events: Up to now, our celebration events have been just about fun, but in a few months we’ll start to host events with worship component. We want to hear from you what will help you worship God as part of a larger community.
Challenge: Complete our online survey about worship here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8TS7K93
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.