This is an article that I wrote for The Outlook. A magazine that is written for The Oklahoma District Council of the Assemblies of God…
3 Keys to Being Better Together
From the very beginning, God created us with the need for a relationship with him and relationships with others. In fact, God said of Adam that it was not good for him to be alone and created Eve to fill that need in Adam’s life. Similarly, we need relationships with one another in order for us to be a healthy church and to fulfill the purposes God established in Acts 2.
The word community is often used when describing a group of people so let’s look at this definition. Merriam Webster defines community as
- a group of people who live in the same area (such as a city, town, or neighborhood)
- a group of people who have the same interests, religion, race, etc.
While this word is often used to describe the church it really does so loosely. The definition denotes that we are a group of people who live in the same area, have the same interests, the same religion, and the same race. Yet this is not the truest definition that the scripture gives us concerning the Acts 2 church.
A better word is the Latin word Communitas which means: having the very spirit of community; an intense community spirit, the feeling of great social equality, solidarity, and togetherness. In other words, this group of people comes together not because of external interest, but an internal drive to serve together, do life together and grow together.
This word personifies the early church as described in Acts 2:44-47 when it says:
And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
There are 3 key ingredients for us as a church locally (your community) and as a state (OKAG) in becoming the communitas that God illustrated through the Acts 2 description that I believe are applicable to the Oklahoma District Council. They are:
We Must Serve Together
As the body of Christ, we are not designed to be an island to ourselves, but to serve one another. Christ was the prime example of what it means to have a servant’s heart and live it out before others. In fact, Jesus told us that we let our light shine by doing good works for the benefit of other people so that saint and sinner alike, may give glory to God. (Matthew 5:16)
1 Peter 4:10 states:
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. God has gifted you uniquely to be used for the purposes of the kingdom. When we serve together, using the varied gifts as a ministry team, extraordinary results are bound to come to fruition!
How are you serving in the communitas of the OKAG (Church)?
We Must Do Life Together
Paul identifies us as God’s chosen ones in Colossians 3 to identify us as a community and then lays out how we are to operate in relationship to one another. He tells us to build relationships through compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and bearing with one another! He states that we are to operate with forgiveness as God has modeled to us and above all else…pour on love!
Why? We know that doing life together is going to produce conflicts, hurt feelings, and even worse attitudes. We also know that mistakes will be made because we are all human after all. If we operate with love as the Father has displayed to us, then that kind of love will bind us together. We cannot do life alone; we must do life together!
How are you building relationships in order to do life together in the OKAG (Church)? (Don’t wait for someone else to make the first move!)
We Must Grow Together
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:15–16 (ESV)
The perfect picture of the OKAG (church) is that we as a body are growing upward in our relationship with God together and that we are growing together in our relationship with one another. How do we do this?
We must go to God daily for our personal growth and for unified growth as His Church. We must be intentional about building relationships with one another. We must be outward-focused in fulfilling the purposes of the Church. Finally, we must worship together as the body on a regular basis.
May God help us to serve together, do life together, and grow together as the Oklahoma District Council (Church)!
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