1 John 1:3-7
3) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye
also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is]
with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4) And these things
write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 5) This then is the
message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God
is light, and in him is no darkness at all 6) If we say that we
have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not
the truth: 7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ
his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the
fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
1) If [there be] therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort
of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2) Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love,
[being] of one accord, of one mind. 3) [Let] nothing [be done] through
strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other
better than themselves. 4) Look not every man on his own things,
but every man also on the things of others.
5) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
2) And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and
fellowship , and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
What motivates your choices in life? What helps you decide between
the many options you have to choose from. How do you balance any
feelings of Guilt with any feelings of Pride? Are you someone who
takes pride in being self made? Owning your life and your future
like a well planned game plan for life? Is there room in these grand
plans for the Church?
The Church of the past was a place of many things to many people.
Unlike the dark fearful Guilt Factory that many Post Modern Antagonists
would have you believe it was. The Church was at the very centre
of the Community. It created and provided a range of things vital
for a healthy community.
Some of these things are mentioned here. But are of course not limited
to this list alone.
For those who are part of the Congregation:
There is a sense of Fellowship. A place to fit in and belong. A
very important part of being a complete and functioning Community.
There was also a time of Shared Prayer and Learning. As with any
group, the importance of growing in a deeper understanding of the
place of the Church with regard to the Community, this aspect helps
develop a shared purpose for both. The place of the early local
Church was one of creating a sense of Community. It gave many a
secure and safe understanding that this was where they would be
accepted. This aspect of belonging is also experienced on the individual
For the Individual within the Congregation:
The individual within the Church is able to gain a range of unique
gifts. Some of these are a sense of belonging as an individual.
True that the group has a need to fit together. But it's the individuals
that make the group or body of Christ what it is. So an individual
finds their place and purpose within the family of God the Church.
Encouragement is a wonderful aspect as well. As each member of the
congregation is brought together, they are encouraged to learn what
unique and special gifts God has given them. With these gifts they
are then encouraged to seek ways to develop and use their special
skills and gifts.
For the Larger Community:
Over the years the place of the Local Church has been replaced by
a less then perfect Social Service. In Australia we have a system
called Department of Community Services (D.O.C.'S for short). Which
has tried in vain to meet the many needs of the greater community.
It has failed in many aspects. Has many children have been found
to have been abused in tragical family situations that could have
been avoided. And in several extreme cases, children have died at
the hands of parents who should have been closely monitored.
The place of the local Church on the past was there for the whole
range of expectations. Oddly called Hatch, Match and Dispatch. The
Church also provided Family Counselling. Food and Support for those
suffering difficulties and hardship. As well as in many places the
first real tangible form of education for those unable to afford
private education for their children.
The Post Modern Church:
In today's World we find the Church asking itself how it can compete.
How can they bring people back to the Pews and make Church more
real and significant to those in the community. The local Church
is faced with many challenges when trying to answer these questions.
Such as the trend towards people constantly moving from place to
place. As they search for work or the need to move to more affordable
They (local Churches) are also challenged with the many Worldly
forms of entertainment that compete for the time and attention of
people. It is both true and vital that the local Church should not
be an experience of entertainment. But of a life empowering commitment.
But for many within that are struggling, they have found it easier
to provide competitive entertainment.
Welfare is also an aspect of the Church that has been as mentioned
taken over by a range of Worldly organisation. Leaving the Church
to provide what services they can for those they can assist. It's
a painful and difficult struggle that can not be easily handled
by many local Churches; when confronted by hostile Social Services
and dwindling resources. But thankfully by the Grace of God, there
are Churches that are meeting the challenge and providing for those
who have fallen between the cracks of society.
In short, I guess it's important to address what makes Church in
any form relevant to individuals. Why would they want to go to Church?
Do we approach them with an offer of Salvation?
Many don't even understand this any more.
Do we approach them on the level of a Social Group?
There are plenty of targeted social groups vying for their time
Do we offer then contemporary entertainment and music?
Many Churches such as Hill Song have cornered this market with a
short term success.
Do we offer them food and physical support?
As good as this sound, it does little to get them through the door
and attending Church.
So what exactly can we do? I'd like to suggest that it will have
to start with Salvation. An educating curve as to what it really
is and why they need it. This can be followed later by the many
other aspects of the Church as a vital part of the community. Because
without this, we are only paving the road towards oblivion for any
who we might be attempting to assist.
Lord, when I go to Church,
I seek to;
Sing and praise your Holy Name,
Learn more about your Grace,
Develop the Gifts you gave me,
Share in fellowship in others.
When I leave Church,
I pray you'll;
Prepare me to face the World,
Give me your Words of Salvation,
Ready to share the Gospel,
A witness to those in need.
These things I pray,
That and your Church,
May be your
Hands, feet, arms and words,
To a World in dire need.