As a body, the Church performs the work of her Head, receiving his instruction and being his presence in the world. Maturation occurs as the parts fulfill their proper functions in the presence of proper and adequate nutrition. Work and Word are both necessary for health and growth.
As a community, the Church reflects the unity and diversity of God in the unity and diversity of her internal relations. Maturation occurs as she learns and works in the context of relationship. The parts must function together and for one another in order that the growth, which flows only from Christ, might occur.
As a storyteller, the Church tells the story of God’s grace and justice. It is a story of grace, for eternal deliverance and presence are gifts paid for by God alone. It is a story of justice, for those who reject these gifts by failing to trust the Giver will not be delivered and will not live in his presence. The will not do this forever. Maturation occurs as the members hear God’s story and respond by being and doing that story among themselves before the eyes of the world.
I am finding a decided inwardness arise in my research into the identity, function, and maturation of the Church in the world. While I believe that the Church must be salt and light, I am not finding that individual believers are to be so intentionally. Rather, individual believers function for the good of the body and for the glory of the Lord.
Perhaps focus on the missional function of individual believers has actually reduced the missional influence of the Church. Perhaps refocusing our efforts on body connections and properly functioning persons will produce the missional influence we so desperately need.
- What does it look like to focus on the growth and health of the body for the purpose of communal work, reflection, and storytelling in the world?
- What would we add to our programs?
- What would we remove?
- What would we change?
Related Site: Missional Tribe