If you have read our Ministry Update, you know that we have been worshiping with Harvest Church in Winterville, GA. Pastor Curtis Parker has been focusing the past few weeks on the vision of the church, embodied in the acronym CARE – Compassion, Awareness, Responsibility, Engage. This is the focus for Harvest Church to the world. As I thought about this, I was given another focus – the focus of the Church (as a whole, not just Harvest Church) to the its members. This is not conclusive or meant to be exclusive – in fact, I looking for a graphic to go with this post, I found another great use of the CARE acronym. So what do I see as Church CARE?
C – Challenging
I believe the Church should challenge its members. We are not Christians to be entertained or comforted, we are Christ followers to be challenged to be more like Jesus. I believe the meat of Paul’s letters and the letters in Revelation are challenges to the readers. We should be no less challenged in our worship and teaching moments together.
A – Accountable
God has really been getting my attention about this one! In the span of a couple of weeks, I had one of my spiritual mentors remind me to be accountable, several devotions and emails that covered the topic, and the realization that when we move, I will be without an accountability group for the first time in several years – at least until I find another one! I believe this is one area that the Church fails on too often – especially for Church leaders. It is too easy in today’s world to be a “lone ranger” in life – in work, in home, in church. The Bible calls us to meet together, to work together, and we need each other for the gifts that God provides each one of us. I definitely don’t have all the answers and pray that I stay wise enough to realize that I need the counsel of other godly men (and women) in my life.
R – Relationship
This goes hand in hand with Accountable. You need relationships. God saw that is was not good for Adam to be alone. We all need relationships. And relationship is what God is after, not religion. The Church must be more than just strangers gathering together for a few moments of “worship”, we must be brothers and sisters united in love and service to our God and neighbors.
E – Encouragement
The world does much to destroy us. The Church should and must be a place of encouragement. As we are challenged to live and service and held accountable when in relationship with brothers and sisters, we receive the encouragement to face life. We need Jesus but we also need to see “Jesus with skin on” and this is the encouragement we get from being part of Church at its best.
Again these are just some thoughts. They’ll be fleshed out some more, I’m sure. I’d welcome your thoughts.