Faith Column: Find your ‘ideal church’
Everyone has their own idea of the ideal church: organs and hymns; drums, guitars, songs from K-LOVE; not too much preaching; pews, not chairs; stained glass windows; storefront building … the list would be very long and detailed.
The ideal church as described in the Bible welcomes everyone, teaches God’s word and is full of servant-leaders. It’s described this way in the book of the Acts of the Apostles: “They were devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” (Acts 2:42-47 New International Version (NIV))
The point of this passage is not to establish a set of rules and regulations on how to have an ideal church. The key questions are: What were the apostles teaching that compelled people to such joyful sacrificial giving? What is the underlying motivation for all this activity?
The apostles are the men who were with Jesus throughout his three-year ministry. They were “discipled” — we would say mentored today — by the son of God. What was he teaching them? I think Jesus gave his disciples the basic element of his teaching this way, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34, 35 NIV)
Love “as I have loved you.” What did Jesus’ love appear as? 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a tells us: “Love is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast and is not proud. It is not rude, self-seeking or easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Love never fails.” (NIV)
God’s love heals, restores and enables a human being to have sacrificial love for the Lord and others. So I submit for your consideration that the ideal church is full of people who are so in love with Jesus it overflows into joyful sacrificial giving and service. They are distraught when they fail to give and serve sacrificially. It is a community of imperfect people loving each other and anyone they come in contact with the best they can at any point in time. They are individuals living through the daily struggles of life whose goals are to be disciples of Jesus, which means to love as he loved, serve as he served, and offer the same forgiveness and mercy to others that Jesus offers to them.
I believe there are quite a few ideal churches in Craig. If you haven’t found one yet, keep looking.
Vicki Van Couvering is the executive director of Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center.Vicki Van Couvering is the executive director of Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center. Vicki Van Couvering is the executive director of Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center.
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