Let me continue to push on this idea that realistically follows along the line of the priesthood of all believers. We have heard clever sayings in our churches like “don’t go to church, be the church. I think I have mentioned that at one of the churches I served we walked around with T-shirts on with that slogan. But how well is this effort going, and why does it seem to be such a struggle… when we continue to hear about the freedom that comes along with being the church!!
I have been reading a book with our senior pastor called God’s Country: Faith, Hope, and the Future of the Rural Church by Brad Roth. As I am serving presently as the Dir. of Discipleship for 3 churches that are definitely more rural, this has been a good read for us to have a better understanding of where we serve and how we serve in this environment. I have truly appreciated using this as a background to important conversations that we have together, towards making the most impact to help the church be the church in this area.
Here are a few clips from the chapter we are presently reading… that certainly challenges us where we are at… but seems to have good application for the church wherever it is at!!
The chapter is about the work of prayer in our churches:
“We’ll think that if we can just hire the right people, all will be well. We’ll believe that a new program will save us. We’ll imagine that our “problem” is that we don’t have enough young families with children”
“The work of the rural church is transfigurative because it begins with looking beyond the surface and structure to see Jesus. Where’s He at? What’s He doing?”
“The reality is that without prayer, we cannot flourish as coworkers with Christ.”
“Kingdom work is process work. It’s patient work. “
“In the rural church, we need to do less and be more.”
A number of my friends from the churches I am privileged to be a part of have started the harvest season for them. Their work for this year has been towards this harvest. As churches we are also encouraged towards being involved in a rich harvest… but what is our most important work towards that harvest!! And how are we doing at it!!
4 “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. John 15:4-5