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.
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
Church in Romford - service meal then board games older members found hard new recent members enjoyed it.
Another church People hadn’t been 8 weeks before they were asked what had happened
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)
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)
, spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24),
offer hospitality (1 Peter 4:9),
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
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
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....
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
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
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
Deeply spiritual Thoroughly practical Perfectly naturalDownload Sermon Notes