Thursday, April 28, 2011

God's Incredible Family!

For the month of May I will be presenting a short series of lessons on God's Incredible Family. It is my belief that much of what we struggle with as a church (everywhere) can be traced back to its transformation from a simple family to an institution. Along with becoming an institution the church then became a place, a time, a keeper of orthodoxy and traditions, and the definer of faithfulness, evangelism, giving, and worship. Those were never part of the intended purpose of of God's people getting together. In today's culture of individualism, anti-institutionalism, and consumerism, the more the church protects and pushes that agenda the more the unchurched and marginal members are turned off to "church".
We must recapture the biblical concept of God's family! There is a reason God used the family image to define, describe, and direct his people. It is the natural conclusion of love. It is the the only group identity where people are, and stay, bound to one another, because love is what you are not just what you feel. Families thrive and remain committed to one another even when they get angry, strongly disagree, get irked with one another, and can't agree on what TV shows to watch. They don't split and start the Eastside Smith Family verses the Westside Smith Family. Because they are family they love each other even when it doesn't feel good. They support each other even when they really don't care much about watching soccer, dance recitals, or graduations. It's what families do. They each have responsibilities and they all do their part to take care of family treasures, property, and the family image in the neighborhood. Everyone helps to pay for what the family does. The older or more mature the young ones get, the more they contribute. It's what family do. Rules are sometimes needed and understood, guilt rarely works, pulling together in hard times is a no-brainer, and love is always the tie that binds.
If you want to see what a church family looks like, read Acts 2:47 and remember how those early Christians just wanted to be together and use every tool God gave them to help each other grow spiritually. Instead of trying to come up with a new set of goals, vision statements, and borrowed Church Growth ideas, why not ask the simple question, How can our church be more of a family? How can we be defined by our love for one another rather than a one hour program on Sunday morning that we can't all agree on anyway?
Maybe those people we are trying to reach with the Good News of Jesus are really looking for a family and not a religious corporation. God is "our Father" not our CEO. The Bible, especially the New Testament, makes a lot more sense when we hear the Holy Spirit talking to a family rather than an exclusive Sunday morning club.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

AMEN, AMEN, AND AMEN...!! Would that every eldership/leadership group in our congregations understood and practised this. What a difference it would make. Thanks Mike for helping us turn the corner toward being what we are intended to be.