17 March 2008

What I Really Think: #4 - What the Church Is For

I was originally shooting for brevity with this series, and I really blew it with the last two posts. But I think I'll do a better job this time, because my thoughts on this topic are really pretty straightforward. This topic being, "What the Church Is For".

I think this one's easy (to say, not to do). The Church is for the people who aren't already a part of it. That's what the Church is for. Sure, the Church is also for God. But all people were made to love God - that doesn't make the Church special. And of course, our identity as sold-out followers of Jesus and lovers of the God of love carries with it some natural side-effects. Chief among these is that we will love one another within the church (John 13:34-35). That just flows from who we are as followers of Jesus. It's meant to be our hallmark, our calling-card, that by which we are known. So of course we'll love each other and take care of each other (and not vilify each other over doctrinal disagreements) - right? That's just a given, right? It's who we are. But it's not what we're for.

It seems to me that the combined weight of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, plus the rest of Jesus' ministry, (ought to) put the church on a powerful trajectory outward, to love, serve, bless, and share the good news with our neighbors. Being an agent of reconciliation. This, IMHO, is what the Church is for. (Some people call this being "missional".)

So, supposing for the moment that you think I have a point, I ask you: does the way you spend your time, as an individual disciple and with whatever Christian communities you may be a part of, reflect this outward trajectory? Whom do you spend more time and energy loving, serving, blessing, and sharing good news with: the people the church is actually for, or the people who are already part of this Body (and who, not-so-coincidentally, you can count on to reward you with friendship, love, and support of all kinds - maybe even financial)?

Yeah. Me too.

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