28th Apr 2013

Reaching out together

By Dave Garlick

40 Days of Community

Session 3  Reaching Out Together

Slide 1  40 days of community  then we go back to our own individual lives

Reaching out to the community  all we need is Whoopi Goldberg and the sisters and a bit of music  and that’s that

Slide 2  well known illustration that church growth  books use  - of the four  areas of growth

Ø Up  - Conceptual

Ø Together -  Organic

Ø Out -  Incarnational

Ø More – Numerical

And actually what you have been looking at and will continue to look at in this series  -interlinks  or dovetails  with this.

Session 1  What Matters Most ?   

Session 2  Belonging Together        

Session 3  Reaching Out

What’s it all about ?   Up – Conceptual   - Mind     Relationship/community at the Heart of The Trinity

What matters most  ?              What is the central message of Jesus  ?

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

9 ‘This, then, is how you should pray:

‘“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

This is the main dish  on the menu we don’t get to choose it  !   - illustration fish !

What would the Kingdom of God look like in South Molton – if that is what we prayed for , worked for.

Slide 3

The Kingdom involves growing, loving & belonging together.

 Growing Together   -  Organic     

John Wesley was right when he described Christianity as essentially a ‘social religion, and added that to turn it into a ‘solitary’ religion would be to destroy it.

    Belonging Together   rich fellowship  that goes deeper than quiche  & cucumber sandwiches  more profound than a quick hello at the end of service.

The Church can so often reflect  the title of a Clint Eastwood Spaghetti western film – No Not A Fistful of Dollars

But the Good the Bad the Ugly

Good

Church in Romford -    service  meal  then board games    older members found hard  new recent members  enjoyed it.

Bad

Another church   People hadn’t been 8 weeks before they were asked what had happened

Ugly

Hear of things that  have taken place in the name of Christianity that are anything but  Christian – both past and present. That are UGLY

When true Fellowship happens  it’s a beautiful thing – psalm 133  gives a picture of  this  - but community is not just the absence of strife and tensions – but maybe working through those things as family.

The word  Koinonia  appears about 20 times in the bible  it’s primary use  means Fellowship

A powerful example of what koinonia should look like can be found in a study of the phrase “one another” in the Bible. Scripture commands us to be devoted to one ....

 devoted to one another (Romans 12:10)

, honor one another (Romans 12:10)

, live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16; 1 Peter 3:8),

 accept one another (Romans 15:7)

, serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13)

, be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32)

, admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)

, encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13)

, spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24),

 offer hospitality (1 Peter 4:9),

and love one another (1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11; 3:23; 4:7; 4:11-12).

 

That is what true biblical koinonia should look like.

Organic – people constantly looking out for each other , constantly doing the small things well, the visit, the phone call, the email, the text  are you ok , can i get you anything, happy birthday, happy anniversary, i will give you a lift to the doctors etc   rejoicing with those rejoice – weeping with those weep

 

We need to be community and reflect community before we can reach out to the community.

WHY ?      Slide 4  because in the words of Sister Sledge (music group)

                                WE ARE FAMILY !

              If it is not local it’s not real   C K Chesterton

A Great Picture of that Belonging Together in Acts 2 :  42 -47   and Acts  :32 -37

Slide 5  Unfortunately sometimes the church is more like this.....

And all those who had believed were apart and had nothing in common; and they began hoarding their possessions and property and neglecting everyone who might have need.  And once a week the religious met for Sunday morning worship, and twice a week the spiritual met for Sunday morning worship plus Sunday evening worship plus Wednesday night Bible study. And all assembled with a divided mind, in their own churches on their own corners. And afterwards they all returned to their houses in suburbia, to live the rest of the week apart from each other and in a lifestyle acceptable to their pagan neighbours. And they ate alone in sadness and insecurity, blaming God for their troubles. And they were laughed at by their neighbours. And God withheld from their midst any power or blessing and their number decreased each day.        Grant Edwards

So in coming  To Our Reading  Acts 6  we  have seen This New Community – Reflecting the Love of God, Fleshing out  Kingdom Values- being the salt and light that Jesus  talked about in  the sermon on the mount.

But starting to hit a few bumps

Slide 6

But any Christian community particularly if it wants to reach out, will come under attack

The early church no different and the last chapters show that

Ø Hypocrisy of  Ananias and Sapphira  Acts 5 :1-11

Ø Persecution   Acts 5 : 17-40

Ø Favouritism  Acts 6 :1

Ø Distraction   Acts 6  :2-4

Slide 7

On the one hand, our enemy, knowing our psychological weaknesses, exploits us. He flings fiery accusations at the guilt- prone and darts of terror at the timid. His goal is always the same – to stop the work we are engaged in. Ours must be the opposite – to keep it going.  

Excellence in Leadership J White p64

Good and Bad  run on parallel tracks   -  Good that church is growing – but growth brings problems....

Slide  8

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The Leader adjusts the sails.  Robert Maxwell

The APOSTLES could have reacted ......

Oh not another problem      or

Don’t worry  it will blow over    but they said......

we need to take action

The Apostles -  Wanted to get this issue sorted out so the life and the aroma of the kingdom can continue to flourish and be breathed in by those around.

How  did the apostles deal with this ?

Slide 9      So ...

a)     They recognised or heard there was a problem – weren’t living some sort of detached life from the fellowship.

 

b)    They gathered the whole church  to explain the matter

 

c)     They had a plan an idea to deal with it – choose 7

 

d)    But the choosing of the 7 men was given over to the church

 

e)     They concentrated on what they were called to -  prayer & Ministry of the Word.  (without which the church would be weak open to attack)

 

f)       The 7 chosen were not to be any old men 

 

They had a track record – known to be full of the Spirit & Wisdom

                The situation required wisdom and graciousness.

   

g)     It is important we see that the apostles weren’t just giving some menial task and passing the buck. It’s not that what these 7  were doing was in some way less of an important work than the apostles – it was just different and  needed others to deal with it.

And We see the Outcome of their wise actions.... v 7

So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

The Word of God Spread

The Number of Disciples in Jerusalem increased

And a large number of priests became obedient to the faith

Even the priests who were tired of their sterile & stale religion could see the  new life and breath of the Kingdom and how that was being played out in the community.

The Reaching Out continued to happen naturally, spontaneously

Slide 10

I am convinced communal life can flourish only if it exists for an aim outside itself. Community is viable if it is the outgrowth of a deep involvement in a purpose which is other than or above, that of being a community.      Bruno Bettleheim.

Slide 11    Mr Bean

 Key Issue for the 21st century for churches in the twenty first century will be church health, not church growth. Healthy churches grow. Just as a healthy baby grows it comes naturally.       Rob Warner

Finish  With Great verse

Slide 12

The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighbourhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.    John 1 :14

Incarnational community   

  Deeply spiritual       Thoroughly practical            Perfectly natural

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