Working from the Church Blueprint
As we actively pray into and ponder the nuts n bolts of re-starting our physical church gatherings, we are not simply asking the practical questions of ‘how can we gather safely amidst the different restrictions?’ (though these are valid questions). For us there is a much more important question to keep at the front of our thinking …
The more important question for us is ‘What will help fuel our discipleship, our mission, and our togetherness as church in mission across the city?‘
Paul encourages us in his letter to the Ephesians how the ascended Christ generously gifts the church a variety of people-giftings that will help us do the very thing implied by our important question. Christ gives us:
- Apostles – The apostolic among us will be pointing us outwards with new ideas and fresh innovation that has been un-leashed by the lockdown experience. The sudden stopping of normal activity has created a fertile space and created possibilities previously unknown or un-thinkable, that the apostolic would call for us to explore.
- Prophets – The prophetic among us will be rehearsing our call to be God-ward. They will be doing this with fresh vigour stirred up by the pandemic crises. They will be trying to discern God’s key messages for society for these strange times.
- Evangelists – The evangelistic among us will be keenly aware that many people are newly searching and asking questions, having had their world rocked by the virus. They will be wanting to dialogue and bring in those who are now open to conversation and faith exploration.
- Shepherds – the pastoral among us will be conscious of the body of people, acutely aware that some have found themselves isolated or in difficult circumstances. They will rightly be signalling the need for alongside care and will be urging us to unite us together again.
- Teachers – the grounded-thinkers among us will be wanting to ensure that we can again together be processing sound Biblical content and staying grounded in organised, healthy Christian thought & teaching.
We need all five of these giftings working harmoniously together in our leading – to effectively tackle the overall question given above. Ephesians chapter four sets out this combination as the blueprint by which His people (the church) may be equipped for ‘works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up … attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ’ (Ephesians 4 verse 13).