Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)
The many “one another” passages found in the Bible remind believers that we are not meant to live our Christian lives in isolation. Being a member of the family of God has many wonderful benefits; but, also some very important responsibilities. In an article entitled, Authentic Fellowship, Howard A. Snyder writes: Several things stand out when we look at the many "one anothers," such as "be devoted to one another" (Rom. 12:10), "serve one another" (Gal. 5:13), "carry one another's burdens" (Gal. 6:2). First, most of these passages imply behaviors, not just attitudes. The New Testament writers are less concerned with how believers feel about each other than they are about their actions—their living together as community and publicly as disciples. Sometimes we reverse this, focusing on attitudes but forgetting action. Second, all the "one another" passages imply a social context—appropriate structures in which these behaviors can be lived out. Third, nearly all the "one another" passages are imperatives—instructions about actual behaviors, not reminders of abstract spiritual truths we can enjoy meditating upon. The New Testament is full of these "one another" injunctions, precisely because early Christians needed to be reminded of them.”
Just as the early Church needed to be reminded of the “one another injunctions,” so too does the present-day Church. We are called to live out our faith in community. There is nothing worse than a church that only has attitude (usually a bad one) and nothing better than a church with a godly attitude accompanied by actions. I am grateful that our church family is one that acts on what we profess. With this in mind, a few things I ask of you as we begin this autumn season and begin our time of revitalization. First, please be patient with the revitalization process. Our vision team has started meeting monthly, and our prayer teams are up and running (and praying!).
We all are anxious to see external signs of revitalization, but I guarantee that at times, it will seem slow in coming. Please be assured that God is working, and ask for wisdom and patience as we journey and grow together. Also, take every opportunity to be engaged in the revitalization process. Consider being a part of a prayer team if you have not already signed up. We have seven prayer teams (one for each member on the Vision Team). Next, in the coming year, we are planning to have a regular monthly potluck meal after church during which we will enjoy Christian fellowship and engage in a time of learning more about our revitalization work. Finally, the Vision Team will be sharing with our church family the various resources we are using, so that anyone in the church can join along with us in our studies and growth.
It was the late Bud Wilkinson, former head coach of the University of Oklahoma football team, when asked the definition of football, replied, “Twenty-two boys on the field badly in need of rest, and 40,000 people in the stands badly in the need of exercise.” I want everyone to understand that church revitalization is not just the work of the few on the Vision Team, but is for all of us. The main work of the Vision Team is the task of study, prayer, and providing leadership for our whole church. However, everyone in our church family must be prayerfully active in this process in these next several months (and next few years). Let us do what God’s Word calls every one of us to do – to encourage one another and build each other up. May God bless us and help us to be more and more engaged in the ministry that Jesus has given to His Church.
In God's Grace,