The Greatest Need  …

This past week I came across the following statement from a pastor in a Southern Baptist Church,

The greatest need today is for the church to be the church! We need to learn how to be a first century church in a twenty-first century world!”

So if I am getting him right he is saying that the church needs to be the church!  It is popular today for people to say, “Don’t go to church; BE the church.” Everybody nods their heads at this, but few actually know what it means or how to truly “be the church.”

                  When most people in our culture think of church, what comes to mind?   What comes to your mind?

Most people think of church as a location with buildings and property, or as an organization. When asked about our relationship with “church”, people usually ask us  “Where do you go to church?” “What church do you belong to?” or “Where is your church?” While that understanding of church is common, I think of church as “those people who follow Jesus.” (That’s pretty simplified, but I think it is pretty accurate)

I want to take a few moments and walk you through our MINISTRY MAP (If you don’t have a copy we have placed a number of copies at our connections desk). Our Ministry Map defines, what it means to be a Christian … or what it means to be a church.

In the centre we see a heart with the words “Gospel Transformation and Disciple making.” Simply stated we are disciples of Jesus transformed by His gospel of grace (2 Cor. 5:17) and our task is to make disciples of all people (Matthew 28:16-20).

Then the question of what a gospel transformed Christian/church does. Look directly over the heart: We worship – Our priority as believers is to exalt and treasure Jesus in our devotion and lifestyle. This is our PRAISE.

Worship is not the practice of an hour, it is the outflow of a life                                       that treasures and exalts Jesus.

That statement decimates the idea that church is somewhere you go. In reality all 24294 Adelaide Street North is, is a building: A place where we gather and are protected from the rain and snow. You are the CHURCH.

Following the arrows we go clockwise and are confronted by the word WITNESSING. As a Christian/Church we bear witness to Jesus and his work of the gospel (Acts 1:8). This is not a program, but rather the outworking of Gospel Transformation. The same Holy Spirit that transforms us and draws us to worship also energizes true followers of Jesus to WANT TO share Christ with others. To be the church means that we want to normalize sharing Jesus in our personal relationships and TOGETHER AS THE CHURCH. This is PROCLAMATION.

If he have faith, the believer cannot be restrained. He betrays himself. He breaks out. He confesses and teaches the gospel to people at the risk of life itself. -Martin Luther

Don’t wait for a feeling or love in order to share Christ with a stranger. You already love your heavenly Father, and you know that this stranger is created by Him, but separated from Him, so take those first steps in evangelism because you love God. It is not primarily out of compassion for humanity that we share our faith or pray for the lost; it is first of all, love for God. -John Piper

Being an extrovert isn’t essential to evangelism- obedience and love are. -Rebecca Pippert

The last part of our ministry map is about WALKING: In community WITH Jesus AND His church. WE seek membership in a local expression of His church. We seek to grow in faith and obedience to Him. WE express our faith (Gospel Transformation) by serving Christ with our talents and gifts at CBC. This is about PARTICIPATION.

 If our purpose for the church and being the church is unclear, the “HOW” of fulfilling our ministry won’t even be on our radar! I believe our ministry map is crystal clear. We even have a stated motive: “All for God’s Glory” and a time frame “Until Jesus Comes again.”

Keep this in mind as you come to our Vision Meeting this Saturday. Keep this in mind as you come to church weekly. We are not to be simply spectators in this process; we are to be participants in the greatest endeavour from the Great Saviour.

See You Saturday and Sunday,

Pastor Byron