Monday, June 21, 2010

Don't Give Me that Ship! I Want the Good Ship.

I love James' description of church.

James 3:4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.

I am all for church, and I always hope to be an agent of change for the better - one that brings us closer to Jesus, and in line with His will for individuals (destiny), local church bodies and the entire Kingdon of God. On the decks of the ship called the church, we're should be taking take part in body life.

Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

I would say, for the most part, what I see is a lot of teaching, a fair amount of communion, various types of so-called fellowship and some prayer. In many ways I think the church experience almost has it backwards. We talk too much, pray too little, seem to have communion in balance (literally meals together), and we are delusional about fellowship.

First, I find it interesting that the translation is "the fellowship" which grammatcially makes it a noun, not a verb; which many think is. It is a bit of an unfortunate translation because the connotation is some sort of dedication to "the fellowship," or in this case, a body of beleivers, not the act of meeting and interacting with others.

The Greek word for fellowship (and communion, and sex) is koinonia (Strong's 2482). ;In every case it means some sort of intimacy.

I don't know about you, but for the most part, I haven't experienced intimacy with very many folks from church. Honestly, even the telling of testimonies seems a little clinical to me. I know that transparency aids intimacy, but something was missing.

"Communion by intimate participation" is a definition that I found - sounds good to me.

I am wondering how that love of church could grow cold in the last days when God is love? Does that mean that He is going to be far off in the worst times of church history?

There are lots of verses on love in the Bible, but I thought I would try to break it down to a few do-able steps we could use in our times of fellowship.

- Talk to the person that you've known the least amount of time.
- Shorten the Bible study and music worship by 15 minutes and use that time to intereact with others.
- Ask God if there is a "project" person(s) in your church, or small group that you can work on getting to know.
- Contrary to popular belief, discipling is NOT teaching others what they don't know about Jesus, it is being Jesus to them.
- Everyone is not always good at initiating contact. Small group leaders and other leadership may fancy theselves as Bible teachers, but they are responsible for drawing out the quiet ones.

So, do you think we are hitting the mark?


photogr said...

Not even close yet David from my experieices.

Tracy said...

Interesting that when I first read this I thought you'd asked if I thought I was hitting the mark - and my response was a resounding NO! I fail frequently. I get caught up in myself instead of caring for others and being about seeing how God wants to use me in their lives.

Then I realized that your question pertained to the church. But gosh, of course we miss the mark as local churches, we're filled with imperfect people like me!

Of course that doesn't mean that we use that as an excuse to not seek more of God and more of His ways.

David said...

@Tracy - grace is a wonderful thing. With it, however; comes a great responsibility to grow up and start acting like Jesus.

Hard to do. Thanks for commenting.

Tony C said...

Fellowship, communion and sex you say? Kind of makes you wonder what goes on in a Greek Orthodox Church...

I'm a very outgoing person and find it easy to mesh with other people for the most part. That's not being boastful because I often fail to use this quality for God's glory. I should be seeking out the new Christian to encourage. I should be looking for the new person to express welcomeness and warmth. I should look for those in struggle and offer support and love.
Yes, I do these things...but not near enough. If my focus is on God daily, my efforts should be for His glory that often too.
I just now glanced over at Tracy's remark...I just love her!

David said...

That's geek orthodox church, for which Tony C is an honorary member!

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