Reaching & Building
Our motto as a church is “reaching and building.” To be a bit more technical, evangelism and edification are the two primary objectives of the church. This mandate for all Christians comes from Jesus Himself. His last words to His disciples before ascending back to heaven were, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
Do you see why I conclude that “reaching and building” are the two-pronged goals for the church? His simple instruction is that we are to “go” into all the world. And in going, we reach, and in reaching, we make/build disciples/believers. It’s a simple but effective plan. It’s been working famously for millennia. The gates of hell have not held Jesus back from accomplishing His plan.
But Jesus’ plan is more than a mere map to success. It’s so much more than a “vision plan” for us to replicate. The key to fruitfulness in this directive from Jesus is in what He promised the disciples. Note carefully what He said as a part of His instruction: “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” He is present and participating with us in this worldwide endeavour. Or, more accurately, we are invited to join Him in His work of building His kingdom. We are labourers together with God.
We cannot reach unbelievers or build believers without God’s power and presence at work among us. That’s home plate for us as Christians. Staying near the presence of Jesus is pivotal for us. When Jesus said, “I am with you,” we know from the “upper room discourse” that He is referring to being in us and with us via the Holy Spirit. This divine enterprise, which He calls us, is simply tracking with His presence in the growing church around the world, in every age.
As we have been learning on Sunday mornings at City Centre Church, His presence is manifest among us in part when we use the gifts that He has bestowed upon us. As 1 Corinthians teaches, every Christian has one or more spiritual giftings, talents, or abilities that are meant to be used to contribute to the building up of the body of Jesus, the church. The gifts are the manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s presence in each of us.
To keep the church on track, she is meant to operate in a “fitting and organized” manner. Paul states in 1 Corinthians chapter 14 that “all things should be done decently and in order.” Paul argues for unity and clarity in our engagement of the gifts, including the more “mysterious” gifts like tongues and prophecy.
Join me on Sunday morning when I’ll wade into a controversial subject. Do the gifts of tongues and prophecy still operate today? See you at either the 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. service. And by the way, we have baptisms scheduled for both services. It will be a very exciting day.
Until then, SHALOM church family,