Taking Fresh Steps in Ministry and Mission: The Church

To build a house you start with the foundation and then you build the walls.

To take fresh steps in ministry and mission we begin with the foundation, namely, the declaration that there is nothing more real than God and our call to give God glory. We declare that God is at the center of all things and all things revolve around God (cf. Colossians 1.15-20).

On this great foundation come the walls, the church. The church is is unique among all organizations on earth because    

  • She was bought with Christ’s blood (Acts 20.28)
  • The presence of the triune God is her defining characteristic (as seen in the central images of the church, “The People of God”, “The Body of Christ”, and “The Temple of the Holy Spirit”)
  • She is an alternative city-state, “The City of God” that stands in contrast and exposes the ways of all other powers and realms. (Hebrews 11)
  • She calls for our ultimate allegiance (Hebrews 11).
  • She exists for the praise of God’s glory (Ephesians 1).
  • She forms us through Word and Sacrament—which are empowered by the Spirit.
  • She gives the world a picture of God’s present and coming kingdom.
  • She gives the world a foretaste of God’s coming kingdom by her life and actions.
  • She is God’s ambassador to the world, calling all people and all things to be reconciled to God.

We treat the church lightly. We see it as vendor of goods and services for us. God however, treats the church as weighty. God declares this the body of the Son. This is where the Spirit dwells and a new order of the world is revealed.

When we move into fresh steps in ministry and mission we join Jesus in his love for the church and God’s declaration of  the  importance of the church. Owning this realty prepares us to join in God’s mission to the world and to honor the church rather than dismissing it.

 

Reflections

  1. How do you love and honor the church of Jesus Christ?
  2. What’s something that you wonder about when you think about the church taking fresh steps in ministry and mission?
  3. How has your church given the world a foretaste of God’s coming kingdom by her life and actions?

 

…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,  and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Ephesians 5.25-27

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