September 04, 2007

Leading People To Be Real Christ Followers In Life…Together

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

And the last in this mini-series will focus on "In Life….Together". The last few days have been interesting for me in a lot of respects. It's always a unique time when you first plug into a church. You're new. You don't know anyone. You're trying to find those families and members that you can connect with. You're trying to be sensitive to how God could use you in this body of believers. There are more question marks than answers. But one thing I am absolutely convinced of one thing. There is no alternative to being a member of a local church.

And that's what has made the last few days so interesting. Over the weekend, I had the chance to hang out with some old friends. One of them was getting married so it was a reunion of sorts. And as I talked to people that were so instrumental in my early days as a new Christian, a recurring theme kept surfacing – "They were not involved significantly in the life of a local church"

Now mind you, these are not heathens. These are Christian people who for one reason or another have decided (at least subconsciously) that participation in the life of a local church is optional. I asked several friends where they were attending church and the answers I got were stunning. And you know, when you quit going to church, it's amazing the rationale you will come up with to justify it. You'll even begin to use Scripture in such a way that makes you feel better about your decision. But the truth of the matter is, that Jesus created us to go through life together..and there is no other place where we do life together more, than in a local church.

Now, one of the most common knock on the church is that it is focused more on church and not enough on life. I agree with that. And that is why LifePoint is on the right track. They understand that our growth, development, and progress and a Christian will not occur in a significant way just because we spend more time at the church building. Change occurs when we do life together. When we get one on one with one another and just go through our days together. Change happens in the homes and at the meal tables (either for bad or for good). If we are going to see our communities transformed by the Gospel, then we must realize that it will be through being "in life…together" with those at our local church. We must commit to them. They must commit to us. Membership must have meaning.

But to not do life together with folks that you see and interact with on a weekly basis is NOT an option. Read your Bible and you'll discover that Jesus never intended for you to be the Maverick. And at the heart of anyone's decision to leave the local church is pride.

Pride that says "I'm better than you".
Pride that says "You can't help me".
Pride that says "I won't help you".
Pride that says "This church is doing it wrong".
Pride that says "There's nothing for me to learn here".

It's pride, plain and simple. No matter which way you slice it. And the part of any good mission statement is to get across to people that we are in this together as a community.

For better or for worse…

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