a Church where all people are valued
We've talked about financial resources and money is important, but it is not our most valuable resource. We've also taken stock of our buildings, but our real strength in terms of our resources is not our buildings, but the people who reside within our buildings.
1,500,000 people attend Anglican churches in England on a typical Sunday. Many will attend out of a sense of duty, others will attend because they enjoy it. The temptation from both camps is that they come primarily as consumers. Church is one of many things that they have chosen – they enjoy it, they feel blessed, they worship, but there is often little understanding that church is the primary instrument God wants to use to change the world.
· If we could only move those people attending from being consumers to producers.
· If we could only move those people from pew fillers to active contributors.
· If we could only move those people from passive attendees to active participants.
Active in serving the community, both inside and outside church walls, active in contributing to the services they attend, active in connecting people to Jesus by words and works.
20% of those who attend do 80% of the work they tell us.
Because they are too busy? Maybe.
Because they are not interested? It’s possible.
But actually I think the number one reason people don’t get more involved is because they don’t believe they have anything to contribute!
I know this because it's a very common, and very old, way of thinking. Paul the Apostle was already addressing this issue in the very first century of the church. He writes to the new followers of Jesus in Ephesus and tells them in the very first chapter of the letter:
God has blessed you with every spiritual blessing (verse 3). He then goes on to explain the nature of that blessing:
You were chosen before the foundations of the world (verse 5), you were predestined to be adopted, you become part of God's family (verse 6), you are forgiven and redeemed (verse 7), you have been given the Holy Spirit to guide us (verse 13).
But the important part comes in verse 15 when Paul prays for the Ephesians. He prays:
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better (verse 11).
Paul doesn't ask that the Ephesians may be given some great gift, he simply asks that they might realise that they have already been given great gifts. His prayer is that they they may know by (a) Wisdom and (b) Revelation. Wisdom is to do with knowing through learning, primarily to do with the mind. Revelation is to do with knowing through intuition, primarily to do with the heart.
Paul is hitting all the bases. That you may know heart and mind how blessed you already are.
You, the readers of this article, are the church’s primary resource when you become that active, contributory part of the glorious body of Christ.
Did you hear that ... BODY OF CHRIST. That’s to do with structure. So let's spend some time looking at that area: