Creating a Learning Network for Kingdom Builders!
We have already discovered that to win a game, you need skill. All around us people are like the sheep are without shepherds; there are unmet needs. Each need is an opportunity to serve and love people into the Kingdom.
To meet these needs, people need to be equipped. Among the patriarchs and matriarchs of every community will be those who have the skills needed to equip people for new ways to serve.
Care & Guiders
How do we know that these people exist in every community? Because Ephesians says that Christ himself places these people in the body to equip us for works of service. Can we trust that Jesus has made provision for our community? Yes!
Let's call the patriarchs and matriarchs together and lo & behold, the equippers will arise.
Let's ask patriarchs and matriarchs to do this....
1) Offer their service to equip others for works of service. Let's be specific. at least 2-4 hours per week will be needed. It's hard to accomplish much of anything with less time than that.
2) Let's be honest - many churches and ministries are missing out on the basics. We went over the seven things we should be devoting ourselves to:
Love God, Love our neighbor, Make Disciples, Apostle's teaching (Biblical Literacy, time in the word), Fellowship, Breaking of Bread, Prayer.
Here's an idea whose time has come. How about these patriarchs and matriarchs, some will be leaders of churches and ministries, share how they are doing with these things and stir other Christian leaders in the area to do the same. How about these people make a concerted effort to come along side church and ministries across the community and invite people. "Can we, together, explore how to better devote ourselves to these things: Love God, Love our neighbor, Make Disciples, Apostle's teaching (Biblical Literacy, time in the word), Fellowship, Breaking of Bread, Prayer? Would you be willing to share what you are learning with the larger community of faith?"
Do we realize that the essence of "love our neighbor" should be a key to helping people find and fulfill the service that God has for each person?
Do we realize that on the hearts of most people are specific unmet needs... connecting people to the need, to others who have the passion, to those who can provide training for meeting needs... This is what births robust efforts to meet needs.
Sometimes in a local congregation there may be a couple people with a specific interest. Maybe in the congregation down the street are a few more. Maybe across the town are the equippers needed to help these people step forward and see something great happen: needs met in the name and by the power of Jesus.
These community-wide efforts need community-wide participants and leaders.
Do we realize that there are lonely people who warm pews every week that have no fellowship? Why not encourage people to start a fellowship at work? This happened at one bank and quickly spread to 40 other banks! People were coming to know Christ through these groups. Believers connected to other believers right at work and together found projects that were relevant to serving their coworkers. And, by the way, that lonely person at work who finds fellowship at work can STILL participate in the ministry of the word and worship on Sunday as usual.
Do we realize that 'a church' on the street corner is a fellowship? We CAN be part of multiple fellowships: a neighborhood Bible study and a church on Sunday morning. To pastors and leaders: if you force your people to choose whom they will connect to, shame on you. Forcing divisions between good hearted, God serving people is not a model we find anywhere in the New Testament.
There seems to be confusion on what the early believers devoted themselves to: fellowship... relationships where they were committed to each other and to do good together. "A church" in the New Testament was a gathering of believers, sometimes in homes, sometimes n other locations.
And, most commonly, the word 'church' described the body of believers across a community. A long time ago, God was sick of people only building their own 'stuff.'.
Haggai said that the problem is that everyone is building their own house and no one is building the house of God. We need to get over the thought that it is all about building MY church and MY ministry and MY identity.
When we spend all of our resources building our own house of worship and ignore the church across the community, it's time to take a deep look at Haggai. And repentance.
This is not to say that local church leaders should not take time and effort to serve their congregations. Of course, they should! But, let's face it. Most Christian leaders spend 98% of their time and energy on their own ministries and neglect the church across the community, thinking that is someone else's job. We cannot be so busy building our house that we neglect the overall house of God. It's not 'someone else's job'. There isn't someone else. There is just the believers across the community. If all these believers have been engaged and are busy building local houses... that leaves NO ONE and NO RESOURCES to build the house of God across the community. This is exactly what Haggai was talking about.
We cannot be children in our thinking. I've seen studies... the wellbeing of a community is often not linked to the number of churches. However, the wellbeing of a community is directly impacted by a trained, mobilized and active believers, the body of Christ, that impacts all of society. We saw this in the beginning; we need to see this today.
This is a team game, no single group has a corner on 'church' in their community. It's all of us and scripture is crystal clear: we need every member fo the body to get the job done. And we need to be connected, Let' quit with setting up divisions to protect and control our little corner of the Kingdom which God has entrusted to us.
It's time that we, the people of God, devote ourselves to building up his church, his body, across a city and equipping all believers to learn and entrust what they learn to others and to use what they learn to serve God and others.
Every community has multitudes of unmet needs and unreached groups of people. Let's work and pray... we want to see this... that there are "No needy people among us."
Next Chapter: The Call