The alarm clock goes off. You dread getting out of your comfortable bed. After hitting the snooze button four times you finally drag yourself out of bed and head straight for your morning fix – copious amounts of coffee. You yell at the kids to get up and get ready for school. The day ahead is busy. School lunches. Traffic. Work. More traffic. Ball games. Cleaning the house. Supper. Paying the bills. Homework. TV. Tired. Fall into bed. The next morning wash, rinse and repeat. The same drill all over again.
It is easy to get so caught up in your own world that you forget the world around you. Even as a Christian who is committed to Christ and the church you must be intentional about following the ultimate command of Jesus to share the Good News with people. Jesus told us to take the gospel to the whole world, but who has time for that and how could you make a difference anyway?
The wonder of God’s plan for us is that he made a way for each of us to make a difference. We do that through the church. The church will always have its flaws because it is filled with flawed and broken people. That reveals the beauty of the gospel. God uses broken, imperfect people. He forgives, empowers, and uses a fallible community of believers who rally around the Savior of the world. Sometimes we can focus on the flaws and feel like walking away from this blessed community. Every church has its flaws. But can you imagine that Jesus would be OK with anyone walking away from the very thing he died for, from the very vessel that he ordained – flaws and all – to bring the gospel to the whole world?
I love the church. I love Avalon Church; the church Jesus called me to lead. Do we have our flaws? Absolutely. Probably more than most since I lead it, but he commissioned us to do something together that we could never do on our own. We can impact the world together!
How does this work? I believe that you can take a break from the hustle and bustle of your world and make an impact on the world around you. How?
· Identify with Christ through your local church. Identify with Christ through salvation and baptism and make a deep commitment to a local body of believers. Identify with that church. Commit to it. Help build it up. The more you help build your church the greater impact you have throughout the world.
· Get involved. Don’t be a “free agent” Christian with shallow roots. That leads to selfish, consumer Christianity. Make a difference. Commit. Serve. Get involved in a small group. Get connected. Your involvement in the local church empowers you and your church community to “go into all the world.” You can’t do this alone but teamed with your church you make an impact.
· Invite others along for the journey. I believe inviting is evangelism. Invite people to church. Invite them to attend with you. Invite them to serve with you. Discipleship begins with being but is fulfilled by doing. Faith without works is dead. I don’t believe in works-based salvation and discipleship, but I believe real faith produces a working faith. Disciples don’t sit on the sidelines. By inviting others you help fulfill God’s purpose of bringing many into his family.
· Invest in the local church. Invest time and energy. Invest your commitment. Invest in the lives of others. Invest your resources into God’s Kingdom. Giving is a part of discipleship. You can’t be a fully devoted follower of Christ and never invest your financial resources into spreading the gospel. Giving is an act of faith. It increases your faith. It grows you and the church. It makes an impact around the world.
You can make an impact. You can go into the entire world and spread the Good News. But you can’t do it alone. God chose to empower us to fulfill his command through teamwork. That is why participation in church matters. Don’t just go to church; be the church. The whole world is waiting on you.