We want our church to grow. But we want our church to grow - not merely our public meetings. We could have lots of people turn up Sunday after Sunday and think that our church is growing, when in fact we may just be growing a crowd. For sure, we want people to visit our church and keep coming along. We are happy for people to be a part of a crowd that worships Jesus and receives balanced teaching from God's Word. But what we really want is for our church to grow. And this is what we are doing.
"Church" is the result of the Great Commission. "Church" exists because and for the Great Commission. The Great Commission is found in Matthew 28:19-20. It was Christ's last command to His disciples. If a group of people claim to be a church yet are not committed to (i) going to people of different nations and cultures with the Gospel; (ii) teaching the commands of Christ (of which there are around 500); (iii) baptising new converts into the community of faith; (iv) regularly assembling to worship God and share His love (which all these things are the essence of the Great Commission), they are a crowd and not really a church. This is why at Legana we have a strong missions emphasis, a teaching of the Word emphasis, an emphasis on water baptising new converts and an emphasis on assembling together on Sunday and meeting together through the week to learn and share God's love.
Romans 10:14 ¶ But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
So what are we doing? We are discipling. When we meet on a Sunday or a Wednesday, we are discipling. A disciple is someone who learns and follows. We want our church to be a Great Commission church that produces disciples who are teachable and know how to follow Christ even when circumstances scream at us not to. The mature disciple is not one who pursues a life of ease, but a life of growth and increasing dependency upon the Lord as they allow the Spirit of God to change them into a humble representation of Jesus Christ.
When life gets tough, things don't go our way, and our health suffers, will you still trust God? When church lets you down, even though your brothers and sisters didn't intend to be neglectful or offensive, will you forgive and stay in the community of faith? These are discipleship questions. Will we care for each other through our small groups when one of us is struggling? Will we seek God, read and study His Word, reach out in fellowship to someone we don't know so well? These questions are settled by how much we are prepared to be disciples of Christ. When your marriage goes cold, your work slows down, and your holiday plans evaporate due to the airline going bust- will you thank and trust God?
James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds
1Peter 1:6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials
Life can be great! Life can be fun! Life can be exciting. But life can also be life. Sometimes bad things happen in life. We'd rather they didn't. But the believer who is committed to learning about God from the Bible and following Christ no matter what the circumstances (this is someone who is well discipled) is someone who is going to get the most out of both life and their walk with the Lord. It's my prayer that we can be used by God to help more people to become disciples and to find the incredible joy of being that disciple of the Christ.