“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This African proverb is something that has been resonating with me as I consider Jesus’ command to all of us to GO and make disciples. That mandate is clear. But it’s not something that we are made to do alone. We need each other, by God’s design. So one of the key questions we must answer as a community is, “Where is God leading us? Where does He want us to GO as a community, following in Jesus’ footsteps?"
At its core, the work of the church has never been to build and maintain buildings, or to maintain a balanced budget (although these pieces have certainly become a necessary and godly part of how the American church functions and stewards its resources). The work of the church isn’t even primarily focused on the weekend gatherings, though the importance of being in God’s Word together can hardly be understated or undervalued. To be clear, all of this activity is moral and godly, and it’s necessary for good order in our community.
But the purpose of the church is, as Paul put it, "equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:12, CSB). Worship services, and the gathering of God’s people (church, from Gk. ekklesia) serve as an opportunities to be filled with the great Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection, what it means for our daily lives, and how we live it out. Equipping ALL of God’s people, not just the leaders, to be a light in a dark place, maximizes the impact of the Gospel and our common mission, given to us by Jesus.
God’s Word, the inviting and challenging words of Jesus, is the best tool for our equipping. And Lent is a season of reflection, prayer, and intentional study of the Word. The Red Letter Challenge (RLC for short) is a vehicle we’re using to engage not just our minds, but our hearts and our lives, too, in the process of faith- and life-formation. It’s my prayer that as we engage in the RLC together, God’s Spirit will begin to bolster our hearts for the road ahead, and give new insight and direction as to where we should go together. We must seek the heart of the Father, and spiritual maturity before we start to move!
A few weeks ago in church, I brought out a table, marking it with a starting line and an X for the finish line. With a bouncy ball on the table, I and a group of people, of various ages and other characteristics tried to land the ball on the “X.” It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t a straight line. And I’m not sure if we actually ever got the ball to stop rolling. But it was fun!
Our journey together will be similar. I pray it will not be swift and lonely, but far and together. May God grant us vision to see where He wants to go. And may His Word continue to be the thing that fills us up and gives us strength for the journey ahead!
Adventure is out there! Pastor Aaron