This first week of Why Church 2.0 we looked at what the church is in the Bible.
During the quarantine, there are many elements of meeting together that were missed. Singing together, talking face to face with friends, playing children, and so many other things. Being able to gather together now is about so much more than just meeting together in a building. The true joy for the church is glorifying God as the church gathered together. Making much of him and helping others make much of Him.
As we meet together, we need to remember that the church isn’t a business where the goal is making money. The church isn’t a store where you shop for what you want. The church isn’t a school where the main focus is education. The church isn’t a building where people meet together.
The church is a family (1 Timothy 3:15). The church is the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-24). The church is a building (1 Peter 2:4-5). The church is a body (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). The common part of each of these images is there is a relationship between each part.
The church is about relationships with God and with one another.
The first three chapters of Ephesians talk about God's rich mercy and love (2:1-9), Jesus' great sacrifice for our reconciliation (2:11-22), and the mystery of the gospel (3:1-12). The last three chapters talk about various relationships. During this first week, we looked at Ephesians 4:1-16. Ephesians 4:1-10 shows that God has given us unity and diversity through Jesus Christ for our growth and maturity. Ephesians 4:11-16 shows the God has given us the body of Christ for our growth and maturity. This growth and maturity is shown as a disciple grows more and more into the image of Christ.
The Trellis and the Vine and The Vine Project are great resources to help churches think through the process they are using to develop disciples.
The first resource is the Pathway for Disciple Growth (The Four E's of Engage, Evangelize, Establish, Equip). Page 146 explains these terms.
We could usefully identify four broad stages that people pass through on their road 'to the right':
- Some people are very 'far away' from Christ and his kingdom: they may not have ever met or spoken with a Christian person. Very often the first thing they need in order to take a step to the right is to meet and ENGAGE with a Chrisitan.
- Other have met and engaged with Christians or Christianity in some way. The next step for them is to hear the gospel: that is to be EVANGELIZED.
- For those who have responded to the gospel in faith and repentance, their next step is to be ESTABLISHED as a Christian, to send down roots, and to begin to grow in godliness and Chrisitlikeness (a 'walk' that will continue for the rest of their lives).
- As Christians are established, and grow in love and knowledge, they will become increasingly concerned not only to step to the right themselves, but to help others do so in whatever they can. They will benefit from being EQUIPPED to do so through teaching, encouragement, coaching, prayer.
The second resource is 4P's. Disciple are made by the PERSEVERING PROCLAMATION of the word of GOD by the PEOPLE of God. in PRAYERFUL dependence on the Spirit of God (p. 83)