We Are the Church
I’ve been listening to the Book of Acts using the Bible App on my phone. The other day, I heard the following two verses in a fresh new way:
So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” ~ Acts 6:2-4
Although I’ve read these verses before, something jumped out at me as I heard them, that had not occurred to me before. The apostles needed help. They couldn’t carry out the whole mission of the church by themselves. In order for them to devote themselves to preaching and teaching, as they were called to do, they needed assistance from other trustworthy followers of Christ. In other words, these pastors of the early church needed help from the laity. (The laity are the people of the church other than the clergy.)
Fast forward 2000 years and we find that the pastors of the modern church still can’t carry out the mission of the church alone. In order for them to fulfill their calling as preachers, teachers, counselors, etc., they too need help from the laity. Especially now.
The year 2020 has brought about some dramatic changes to the way we do church. Worship doesn’t look the same. In-person gatherings are hard to manage safely. Social distancing seems counter to our idea of what fellowship means. Much of our contact with fellow believers is being done through some type of technology. I know that my church doesn’t look at all like it did a year ago. Does yours?
In the midst of all this, pastors and church staff are facing many challenges. Stress and anxiety levels run high as they endeavor to keep their people connected and spiritually fed, while worrying about day to day operations and making sure the bills are paid. They can’t do it alone. We are all the church and they need us to step up and do our part.
Ephesians 4:11-14 says:
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
The job of the church leadership is to equip us, the laity, to do the work of the church in the world, in order to build up the church and bring more people into the body of Christ. Too often, our idea of being part of a church means attending worship, participating in an occasional class or Bible study, and enjoying fellowship dinners together. But being part of a church means more than that. We are all called to be representatives of Christ to the world.
Together, let’s be the church and show the world that the church is alive and well through its people.
P.S. My podcast, The Thoughtful Spot, is now available. I hope you’ll check it out on my website, on Apple Podcasts, on Google Podcasts, or on Spotify.