== Love God == Delight in Light ==

Sunday, June 22, 2008

No I'm Not!

While I'm online, I must tell you about what Lucia (aged 2) keeps saying these days. When ever anyone says "you're cute" or "you're a funny-bunny" or "you're ..." (just about anything else) - she always says "No I'm not I'm Lucia!"

No amount of attempted persuasion will convince her to accept that she's anything other than her name!

The Mission

I can't believe that it's over a month since I last posted to this blog! Sorry about that!

Over the past few weeks I have been reading a book called "The Purpose Driven Church" by Rick Warren, and, whilst I don't necessarily agree with everything he says or recommends, I think that his fundamental point is a good one: if you want to have a healthy church, you need to understand what the Biblical purpose of the church is, and then make sure that you are doing that.

Rick Warren's starting point is a combination of the "Great Commission" (Matt 28:18-20) and the "Greatest Commands" (Matt 22:37-40).

This seems like a great starting point to me. According to the "Great Commission" we are supposed to go into the world and make disciples, baptise them, and teach them to obey Jesus' commands. Of all the commands that Jesus gave, the greatest are to "love God" and "love your neighbour".

In other words, the church's purpose (or mission) is to help people to move from wherever they are towards being more "obedient" to the great commands of loving God and loving others.

How that is actually put into effect depends on where the person is. This ranges from someone who is a "stranger" to the church to someone who is already a mature Christian. All of these people still need to move in the direction of greater love for God and each other. However, the things that the church can (should?) do to help changes depending on where the person is in that spectrum. Also, the extent to which it is the church's input (as opposed to the individual's own input) that brings about the change also varies.

Here's a sheet with couple of diagrams that I used to illustrate some of these points when I was speaking to our congregation about all this a few Sundays ago: Church Mission PDF. It shows some thoughts on how some of the different "stages" progress, some of the key things that are likely to be needed if the person is to move forward, how the input of the church and the individual varies over the different stages, and some examples of things that can "go wrong" at various points along the way.

We have just (today) introduced an additional study for those people in the congregation who are interested in pursuing some issues at more depth. We are currently finishing off a study on salvation, and then intend to move on to study this question of the purpose of the church and how we, in our congregation, can fulfil our mission more effectively.

Please pray for God's guidance for us on this so we can serve God as effectively as possible.