The first church, the Acts church, had the lot! Passionate people, committed to each other, giving of themselves and more, to be the kind of church Jesus had in his heart when He gave His life for it (see Acts 2:42-47). From what we can see, it had all the hallmarks of a healthy church.
We know however, that things weren’t healthy all the time. Paul the Apostle wrote letters to many of these early churches because they weren’t always, well, very healthy! Arguments about theology, practice, head coverings, relationships and money were just some of the issues that Paul tried to address in many of his letters to churches. Things went wrong, and things will always go wrong when broken people try to do community. Paul’s intention, and Jesus’ intention, however is still for a healthy church. Broken people doesn’t have to mean broken church. There is a way, a standard, a goal – and that is always towards being a healthy, vibrant, beautiful powerful church worthy of the name of Jesus.
"Broken people doesn’t have to mean broken church"
But healthy won’t happen by accident; only with purpose. Have you ever tried to get fit without a plan? It isn’t going to happen without a schedule, plan, a set of values or new patterns of behaviours that will lead to improved health.
"...healthy won’t happen by accident; only with purpose"
Over the past six months, as a team we have asked ourselves the question: “what type of church do we want to become?” As we have asked that question, we began to scribble down some values, patterns of behaviours, or culture that we long to see, or in some cases, already see in abundance in our church and some other great churches in our nation. Over the next seven Sundays, we will be teaching into these Values. So what should our response be at this time?
- Find out what they are. Our new values are on our website (click here) and also in our concourse area on the wall – take a look, download them into your soul, or paste them in your Bible, journal, onto the fridge for starters!
- Ask yourself how are you already living these out – or where perhaps you need to grow in them a bit more. Don’t be tempted to think about how ‘others’ need to grow in them; may we always start with ourselves.
- Start to live them out – not just on Sunday, but in your everyday life.
- Hold each other accountable – as a Pastor, I know my calling is to model these, to live these, to guard these and to promote these. If I’m not living them out in my life, you have permission to come and talk to me and ask me about it. As I believe I do with you; and may God help us do this with all love and grace.