It matters where you start.
Whatever you are doing it matters where you start. Churches have been founded for many reasons. They have been founded for evangelism, for ministry, for gifts, for anointing, to help the needy, for sound doctrine and any number of other reasons. All of these visions are powerful. any of them can discover life but they are not the true foundation of the church.
The church has only one foundation. His names is Jesus Christ. He is the cornerstone of our faith and the foundation of his church. He is the rock upon which God builds his church. He is the head of his body. He is the source of our life. He is the author of all things. He was before everything . In union with him all things have their proper place.
We were created in the image of God and we were created for a relationship with God. Our God wants our company. The fall of Adam damaged that relationship. It removed our ability to interact with God. We have been cut off from him but Christ has restored our relationship. The veil that kept us from God has been torn up. Every believer can come into God’s presence and find a welcome, no matter who they are or what they have done. For those who believe, nothing in this world or the next can cut us off from the love of God or a relationship with him.
Jesus Christ is our foundation and a relationship with him is the basis of all church life.
We may evangelise. We may help the needy. We may minister and declare the depths and riches of the Scripture. We may perform miracles but these are the things we do. They are not the reason we exist. We exist to have a relationship with Christ, to be his family, his bride, his children.
Christ is the life of every believer and of the church itself. Few believers would disagree with this but it needs to be more than a theory. I have seen many churches mission statement and the centrality of Jesus Christ is often declared. However, very rarely does anyone know how to make it more than a statement.
When we come to a new church there are usually things we look for. We remember things that have blessed us before. We consider certain things to be important. They must be found in the church or we will be unhappy.
A church cannot start that way. I am part of a church that began deliberately by putting aside every task and every mission. We were mostly believers who had spent long years in other churches. There were many good things in our experience but we put them aside. We did not begin by preaching the gospel. We did not begin by operating in the gifts. We did not begin by studying the Scripture. All of those things have their place but that place is less important than a relationship with Christ.
In our early days we ate together and we sang together and we simply spent time together. We also tried to turn to the Lord together for no other purpose than to spend time with him. We came to spend time in the Lord’s presence. We spoke his name. We came quietly and tried to still our minds. Occasionally the Lord spoke to us and we were able to bring the experience of our time together into our meetings.
Sometimes we spent time with the Lord on our own. Sometimes we came together in twos and threes. Sometimes we came together as men or as women. Those times were quiet but we have never forgotten the importance of spending time with Christ. Other things come and go. Sometimes we study the scripture. Sometimes we hold conferences. Sometimes we reach out to our neighbours but we never stop turning to our Lord. He is at our centre. He is our beginning and in him all things find their proper place.
For anyone who wishes to look at the Scriptures on this subject I recommend a few verses. there are plenty more but these few are a good starting point.
Colossians 1.(look up v 17 in the Good News Bible)
I Corinthians 3 v 11
Ephesians 2 v 20
I Peter 2 v 6