Many of us have been around and in churches for so long that we settle on an idea of its definition and purpose that is of our own making. We may not have been that intentional about the idea of church that we’ve end up with but, somehow or other, we’ve landed there. Most likely, somewhere we’re either comfortable or resigned to. Caused by our joy, our ambivalence or our scars.
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus turns to His disciple, Peter, and declares to the frail Peter that he is a rock and on that rock, He will build His church…and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. That is to say that nothing will stand in the way of the vision that God has for his people on earth who are in Jesus.
What sort of church did Jesus mean? What sort of church withstands the gates of hell? What is the church as Jesus sees it?
We want to be a part of building that church alongside Jesus because unless He builds it, we labour in vain. And we want to be part of building the church knowing that THE church is bigger than THIS church, yet this church is an expression of Jesus’ body.
This series considers the characteristics of a church patterned after Jesus’ vision; The Big Table as a flawed but glorifying expression of that vision; the mission of a church after Jesus’ vision; and the fruit of a Church after Jesus’ vision.
One thing seems sure: the Church that Jesus died for is far broader, far more embracing, far more loving, and far more redemptive than those of which we have often been a part. This isn’t a despairing thought, but it should be unsettling…and it should leave us both desiring to represent Jesus: despite the shame it may bring, despite the squirmish-ness it may bring inside and outside the broader church, and despite the fact that it may be inconvenient and uncomfortable. These are poor measures of Kingdom-effectiveness!
What are we hoping to achieve in this series? I think a perfect picture of Jesus’ bride is impossible when we’re looking into a mirror dimly, but I pray that we emerge with a clear understanding of our purpose, our mission and our role as salt, light and love for those within the body of Christ and those who so desperately need to hear the good news about Jesus.
We’re spending four weeks talking about Jesus’ Church and we’d love you to join us at The Big Table – 9:30am, each Sunday (5pm on the First Sunday!)