Ken has been very clearly sharing each week about the reality of community life in the church, which causes us to think about our current relationship with God. Perhaps his biblical challenges have forced you to admit that we as a church have often been simply a casual fan of Jesus, rather than a committed follower of Jesus.
We believe just enough to know that heaven is the place we want to go after this life, but not enough to make actual changes in our lives that will allow God to use us and therefore make an eternal impact on his kingdom.
We believe the mission and purpose of God is to call out pastors, teachers, and missionaries to build his kingdom, but we settle for sitting on the bench, or sidelines, never really wanting to get into the game.
- We’re glad we “made the team” by saying YES to Jesus at some point in the past.
- We’re wearing the team uniform so others know we are on God’s team, but we really don’t make an impact on the team’s success.
- We know there’s a playbook we have been given, but admit we have not read it enough to know the team strategy.
- We regularly show up at practice, but make little preparation for the actual game.
- We’re content to just sit here on the bench and leave reading the playbook and running the plays to the starting team.
We think to ourselves…
- “I don’t expect to get in the game so I’m just fine sitting here on the bench, dressed out, and wearing my team’s colors.”
- “I don’t really like practice all that much: the coach is always telling us what to do and how to do it.”
- “I don’t like that the coach makes the whole team run, shoot, get in shape, hone our skills, and get prepared for the games.”
- “I admit that don’t really DO all that stuff. I prefer just sitting over here on my team bench, next to this little orange water cooler filled with Gatorade.”
So, you may be asking, “Why are you even on this team?”
“Well, it’s because I like the crowd cheering for me and my team, knowing I just might make it to the Final Four and the Championship Game because of all the dedication, commitment, skills, and efforts of those five starters who get all the playing time.”
Wow, I didn’t think I would take this illustration so far, but the more I thought about it, how often is this true in the church?
- My faith is all about ME.
- My faith is personal.
- My church is also about ME, and my preferences.
- My church is here, people know how to find us.
- My spiritual growth is optional.
- Finding my place of service is optional.
But the Bible begs to differ. Faith is not something that we just have or live out personally or in isolation. There is way too much evidence in Scripture that the Christian faith is meant to be carried out in the context of community.
We often seek God’s will in our own lives but fail to realize that God has a will for HIS church.
- The church is the gathered group of Jesus followers.
- The church is people, those who have confessed allegiance to the One who bought them and saved them, not just to sit and soak, but to serve.
- The church is gifted to do exactly what the Lord desires for each of us to do and accomplish.
I’m not talking about just volunteering, although that is expected when we have a corporate mentality of Christianity. I’m talking about truly understanding what the church is all about.
- What does God expect of the church?
- What is God’s vision that he has shown to pastor Ken?
- What does a disciple of Jesus look like?
- Why do we gather in worship?
- What is the Great Commission (Acts 1:8) and how am I supposed to be a part of it?
- What are my spiritual gifts and where can I exercise or use them?
Jesus mentioned that there are two great commandments: to love God, and then to love others (Matthew 28:18-20, Matthew 22:36-40). The whole law can be summed up in these two commands, but the Bible also has a lot to say about HOW we live as believers and followers and disciples of Jesus.
This is why Ken has spent so much time casting vision for King’s Grant, defining who we are as a church, helping us to discover our spiritual gifts, and how to exercise and employ the gifts of grace that God has so thoughtfully supplied.
Let God have his way for this church (Philippians 1:6). Stop being content to sit on the bench.