Notes from Brother Jay

      What does it mean to have a strong church?  Would good attendance be an indicator?  How about a large Sunday School?  Great Music program?  Or perhaps, lots of new faces with many finding a home?  Financial stability and outward generosity?  Lots of children and youth? Everything in this list is good.  No one would argue with having any of these!  But something seems missing, doesn’t it?  
       What about spiritual things?  We can assume the church is filled with spiritual people doing spiritual things, when in fact the assumption is weak.  Buildings can be full of activity without anyone ever giving a moment’s notice to Christ.  Even in community outreach to the poor and marginalized, the generosity often lacks any hint of invitation to join our fellowship.  Much of what we do isn’t acknowledged in the Name of Christ or, strictly speaking, clearly given in His love.  It is left to those receiving it to answer the question, “Why are these people helping us?”
        A strong church would be full of disciples, people intentionally learning and growing in the likeness of Christ.  The church began when Jesus walked among us teaching, correcting, and healing.  It continues today through the Holy Spirit living in every believer.  
      Yet, it isn’t about each of us, it’s about all of us!   The church isn’t about bricks and mortar or even Pastors and Bishops, it is all of us together “being” Christ in the world.  After all, “we” are the body and Christ is the head of the church!  Together, we become something more than the sum of our parts.
      So, the strong church is a group of people who completely rely on Christ, working in unison, having the mind of Christ.  Our strength begins with Christ, and multiplies in the faithful family of God where we live.  I got this from my friend Greg Lee, a Pastor of a church in Valdosta:

"The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack." -- Rudyard Kipling

      To paraphrase, "The strength of the church is the Christian, and the strength of the Christian is the church." Christianity was not meant to be done alone. It was meant to be lived out in community.
      The strong church involves faithful, intentional, growing followers of Jesus Christ, being transformed into His image.  The strong church is always growing and changing toward holiness, God’s desire for us.  So, let’s take this advent season as time for a “Reset,” accepting a single unifying priority, to follow Jesus in His mission of seeking and making disciples.

Peace,

Brother Jay

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