© Honiton Evangelical Congregational Church.
WHAT SHOULD OUR CHURCH LIFE LOOK LIKE?
In April and May we began looking at Colossians 3: 16 as a blueprint for church life. We continue:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, TEACHING AND ADMONISHING ONE ANOTHER IN ALL WISDOM, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Time for a rethink What the Holy Spirit desires of us here is revolutionary for church life and relationships. When we go to church what do we expect? A great danger is that instead of committed church members we have consumers who think of what the church offers them – the questions that follow indicate their focus:
1. When you arrived at the church what were your initial impressions? Was there adequate car-
2. Was the church seating comfortable and was the room temperature OK? Did you like the decor?
3. Was the service the right length for you and any family members with you? Did you like the hymns? Were they traditional enough/or contemporary enough for you?
4. Was the sermon the right length for you? Were there sufficient stories and illustrations to keep your attention? Did you feel helped and encouraged by the sermon?
These could be a good set of questions for church leaders to think about. We want to attract and hold people who attend without a sense of burning spiritual needs but because something seems to be nudging them in that direction. God may yet open their hearts to the gospel. However the text we are looking at suggests that the function of the church meeting and preaching is to enable ‘the word of Christ to dwell in you richly’ – so while length and holding interest are important the content is vital. It is to enable faith in Christ and the response of love to him and others and obedience to his commands that is appropriate. The believer meeting with God’s people is actually to be concerned that the fellowship of the church revolves around, ‘teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.’ In other words church attendance and interacting with other Christians is not just about what I get but also about what I give.
What does ‘teaching and admonishing’ mean? Pastors/Elders must be (1 Timothy 3: 2), ‘able to teach’, which applies to teaching officially within the congregation. Not everyone will have that gift and what is asked of everyone (men, women and converted children) is that they be able to pass on what they have been learning from God’s word and which has fed and encouraged them. Admonishing is sharing truth which confronts and challenges. We’ll continue with this in the next newsletter.
Yours in the Lord,
|Why are we a church|
|What you can expect|