Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Seeing Further

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."
                                                                Isaac Newton, 1676

The church is a difficult entity to define.

It is a community of believers.

It is the bride of Christ.

But it is also the body of Christ.

The church has been described as the Communion of Saints.  It is also a hospital for sinners.

The church is united through the Holy Spirit and its members are baptized into the faith.

This baptism is a covenant where we seek to be accountable one to another.  I help you and you help me.  Individualism falls by the wayside in the church and that's okay.

At annual conference, I received the Denman Award for Evangelism.  This was given to me as an individual largely for the growth the church experienced in Piedmont while I was the pastor there.  While I am proud and honored to be the recipient, I also recognize that many others went into this growth.  Staff members ran programs that helped with discipleship.  Committees oversaw important ministries that met community needs and allowed us to be on the radar of the unchurched.  Laity set the tone for friendliness and hospitality when visitors walked through our doors.  The church grew not because of any one individual but because we were willing to put aside individual needs and look to the mission of what God is calling us to do.

I'm reminded of the Apostle Paul's word to the Corinthians when he said, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth." (1 Corinthians 3:6, NRSV).

We're stronger together than we are apart.
Even in the midst of decline in the church as a whole, we see places where the church is thriving.  I believe that these are churches that are allowing the Holy Spirit to lead them. Sometimes this means allowing the church to move in new directions for the sake of the Gospel.  Sometimes it means giving up being territorial or having it your way.  But it also means building something that will last beyond your life.  It means making an impact for other people in profound ways.  It means transforming a world that begins to look and act more like we would imagine heaven to be.

I'm excited to start my second year in a church that is also on the move.  As we celebrate the successes we've accomplished this past year, I believe that we have tremendous potential for continuing to live out God's call on our lives.  This Sunday, we'll explore the faith of the church through the image of the seed found in Mark 4:26-34.  We'll see what God does with us together!

In Christ,


Photo by Mike DelGaudio (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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