People define and describe “church” in various ways. A very simple definition fully supported by the New Testament might be “people following Jesus together.” You might describe the function of the church by simply summarizing the few things that Jesus seemed to redundantly teach as the ways of His followers:
- love God
- love your neighbor
- make disciples
- unite around mission
- serve with no regard for return
- overcome with the help of the Spirit even the most difficult of circumstances
Who does not agree with these very important purposes and functions of the church? But are we doing it? Are we being transformed daily by the power of the Gospel and being empowered moment by moment by the power of the Spirit to live as His church the way Jesus intended?
Two simple questions that I know we are personally considering, that, in my opinion, would shape our everyday in a very significant way if we take them seriously:
- what if we actually make disciples?
- what if actually loved our neighbor?
Are you actually being equipped to make disciples like Jesus did? For Him, the classroom wasn’t the primary location for discipling. For us it tends to be. What if the primary location for discipling for you and me was at the gym, the backyard, at work, in our child’s bedroom? What if instead of needing to know everything so you could teach anyone, you were actually a “disciple” which at its roots means to be a “learner” and you just committed to learn and live His ways with others in hopes that they would then go and learn and live His ways with other others and so on?
Do you even know your neighbor’s name? Are you too busy “going to church” to actually “be the church” to your neighbor? What if as His church God actually wants you to cultivate for “on earth as it is in heaven” on the street where you live? Would you be okay if what might happen on your block was all the result of your activity as the church that you would ever see? If you are not actually loving your neighbor but are an “active church-goer,” then I would suggest that your “church-going” is hollow and insincere. Loving your neighbor is a command that goes hand in hand with loving God. It matters.
Thoughts? I’d really like to hear your stories of how you might actually be making disciples and actually loving your neighbor.
Meantime, let’s go live sent in our everyday and on our street.