Reposted from summer 2013. -JB
[The church]…is [Christ’s] body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:23).
“God’s plan for the world is in the hands of the church….God’s intention is that all alien forces, all estranged persons, all warring elements are to be brought to unity. Christ is the center around which that unity is to cohere. The church is the instrument through which the unity will occur, the channel of power to bring it about, the demonstration plot to model the unity as realized fact in nucleus and anticipated universal reality. As hackneyed as it may sound, Christ is counting on His church, and He has no other plan” (M. Dunman, Ephesians: Communicators Commentary, 166).
I’ve had the honor and challenge of inviting people to join a cause the past couple years. Yes, its good to think of it in these terms. Our world is quite ambivalent to “church membership” but enthusiastic about and committed to good causes. Walks and runs for AIDS, Cancer Cure, and every other conceivable disease that bombards the daily lives of our neighbors, friends and family. Save the Planet, Go Green, support our troops, occupy Wall Street. We get causes. They move us. The younger generations are some of the most “activistic” people I know.
But many people are still very hesitant to get excited about joining a church and supporting its mission. Why? Because we tend to have a pitifully small view of church. God’s PR department is working overtime to remind the world that church, far from being a tame 1-hour singing time or a twice a year family tradition on Christmas & Easter, is actually the greatest cause on earth.
When we get an accurate view of the purpose of the church and grasp how high the stakes are, then church planting — i.e., inviting people to join a new local movement of people advancing the church’s mission in a particular region — should be the most important, the most exciting, the most humbling invitation a human being can receive.
If people understood the grandness and greatness of the church’s role in human history and world transformation, they would be lining up outside our doors and begging for a chance to be part of the action. And church planters and volunteer coordinators would not feel so much like door to door vacuum sales people, trying to peddle a product and drag people into roles against their will.
Lord, give us the courage and motivation to be bold witnesses for you in our everyday lives! Grow your church at MainStreet and empower us by your Spirit to complete the task ahead. Help pastors/leaders paint a compelling picture of this awesome responsibility for our people, and help us to not grow weary. Amen.