The 21st Century Retooling of the Church – Part XXXXI
When you invest in something, feeling ownership of it, you take better care of it, compared to when you work with “other’s” investment or items. Do those who attend your church feel “ownership” to it as if it is their own? What is their part? What function do they play? Are they active in the day to day activities? How does one “invest” in your church other than financially? Good questions with tough answers!
The price for “investment” in church life is greater than in financial, because the price lies in relationships. The Church is all about relationships; that’s what makes it a “living organization”. When the bottom line becomes money, the “living organization” becomes an “institution” and budgeting, building & grounds, and staffing needs become high priorities. Church, as an institution, always has a business side to it, but what about the price of relationships.
I have contended that the only way a five fold flow of service oriented ministry could be developed through laity, through the believers in relationship as a body of Christ is through IJohn 3:16, that of “laying down one’s life for the brethren.” In today’s mega-churches, it is easy to be loss, unidentified, blending in, but not getting close to anyone or exposing one’s life or true self. The same is true if one only “attends a service” once a week.
If one is “investing” in his/her church, it will cost “laying down one’s life” for others. It not about self, not about what I want in a church, not about what best meets or suits my needs, not about what is most convenient for oneself. It is about serving others, serving those who are different than ourselves, those with different passions, point of views, desires, drives, etc. Most churches hang around those of like-mindness, often of the same race, or economics. Church groups are often cliquish, wanting those outside their camp to conform to their norms in order to be accepted, rather than reaching out to cultures or norms with which they are unfamiliar.
I believe that the Church’s strength lies in its diversity, when those who are diverse are willing to lay down their lives for each other, who are willing to “serve” one another, who are willing to be accountable to one another. I know this idea is novel, and probably not to be well received by today’s church, but it is the only way to bring unity to a now fragmented church that chooses to isolate itself from the many different “sects” outside one’s camp. John 16 is Jesus’ priestly prayer for unity in the Body of Christ, but that unity can only come at the same price that Jesus paid, the laying down of one’s life.
Jesus “laid down his life” for us; ought we to also “lay down our life” for our brethren. Isn’t that Christ-like? One of the purposes of the five fold is to help the believer become more “mature” in Christ, more Christ-like, as well as bringing unity in the Body.
The price of investment: “laying down one’s Life”.