1 Corinthians 14:26 “How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.”
The elements of strength that make an athlete a world class competitor can’t be narrowed down to one single element. As an athlete myself (once former), I can attest to the need for a complete approach when it comes to preparation and training. Years ago when I was coaching boys high school basketball, I purchased an Olympic type training regimen that developed the whole of the player and not one aspect of their body. Exercise was important but more importantly was how you did the exercise. Weight lifting was a critical element for competition but more importantly was the way certain muscle groups when targeted brought the greatest results. Diet was another key aspect of athletic training that not only helped in the development of muscle building but also the neural pathways for brain development and its ability to react quickly to given situations. If the body is strengthened only in one area, it brought about greater risk for injury in other areas but when the body is developed completely, it functions at a level that is miraculous.
The body of Christ; i.e. The Church of God, functions in respects to physical development and function in the same way.
Romans 12:3-5 “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.”
Understanding our role within the church is critical for the functionality of the church to excel at a level that God originally intended.
Development of it’s members is an aspect of church growth that remains critical for unity and fellowship. The church has an important function in the scope of God’s greater plan and the more we take this role seriously, the more we witness the impact of a church that is centered correctly on God’s Word excelling at what it was called to be, a light in the world.
Why is it critical for the church to be what God intended?
The role of those called by God, who have committed their lives in the service of the King and are now being led to exhibit the same attributes of Jesus to the world is as important now as it has ever been.
Covid-19 has effectively culled out a large portion of people who attended services out of obligation or tradition….Jesus likened them to birds nesting in a tree.
Matthew 13:31-32 “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”
It may be difficult associating birds in a tree with false testimony but you must remember how Jesus described Himself in respect to His people.
John 15:5-8 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
You see, the root of the tree is Christ alone and the branches are His people that grow from His supply. His Spirit is the life that courses through His branches and when we abide in Him, He produces fruit. This fruit is not for ourselves, it is meant to bring about new plantings, new growth, and it provides supply to those who partake of it.
The birds don’t contribute directly to the tree, they only nest in the shade that it provides, they eat of its produce and enjoy the safety of it’s branches.
Jesus is that mustard seed. He came in humility and despised by men and yet established His kingdom of righteousness and truth that has extended for 2000+ years. His people recognize those who have been grafted into the vine, it is by the fellowship of the Spirit and the fruit His Spirit produces in us that reveals His hand.
Like the athlete that recognizes the value of each member of his/her body, so the church takes into account each member as valuable to it’s function and purpose.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:”
It is when each member acts according to God’s lead do we see an enhancement of community and a strengthening of each individual member serving a vital purpose in God’s plans and purpose.
It is key for pastors to recognize the need to give people the opportunity to exercise these gifts and build community within the church. I’ve been to churches that have many people that really don’t know one another. Except for a few small pockets of groups people can feel alone in the midst of the assembly, the need to grow in community is as important as the other mainstays of a church gathering such as preaching, teaching, and worship.
Not all churches are equal, consider finding a fellowship that understands the value of interpersonal growth and relationships and when you do, dive in and take part in what the Lord is doing there. The Lord will grow you through the experience and your family will be blessed as well.