Are You Learning and Practicing Your Part(s)?

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Church”?

If you are like most people, you think of buildings, clergy (professional ministers) rituals and programs. This is the working definition that is deeply embedded not only in our country, but in most places of the world. It has been the way people have thought of church for ages.

How inspiring are those words to you?  Do they feel life-giving and transformational?  Does this description sound or look like what Jesus said or did?

Chapter 4, of the Book of Ephesians, gives us a much richer understanding.  It mentions 5 “Ascension Gifts” or spiritual enablements that Jesus wired into the identity, calling and resources of the church when He ascended to heaven.

 “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.”  Ephesians 4:11-12 NLT

 The Church is to be the embodiment of Christ on earth, believing in, empowered by, and living for Jesus.

 In the book, 5 Q, Alan Hirsch expounds on these 5 gifts, saying the church should be marked by:

  • The Apostolic – a people movement that participates in the redemptive and transformative mission of God in the world.
  • The Prophetic – a holy people that stand for God in the world in worship, obedience to God’s word, justice, and prayer.
  • The Evangelistic – a people who joyfully proclaim the good news of all that Christ has done for us, encouraging others to experience freedom and salvation through Jesus.
  • The Shepherding – a nurturing, reconciling, and healing community that experiences and lives a common life of faith in Christ.
  • The Teaching – A people of wisdom that passionately seek God’s truth, insights and understanding for living.

Doesn’t this definition sound more exciting, challenging and rewarding than the common street understanding of church?  This is what church actually is, and I want to encourage you to jump in and give it all you have. This is worth your life investment.

As a member of the church, you get to live and function according to the desires and abilities God has placed in your heart, mind, and hands. Here is where you learn to speak and hear the truth in love, and where you will mature alongside others who are learning and growing with you.

“He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Ephesians 4:16 NLT

Do you resonate with any one or two particular “Ascension Gifts?”

How might you grow in your understanding and activity in that part/aspect of the church?  We will all grow and be built up in love as each one of us learns to do our part in God’s church.

~ Coach Tom


P.S. ... If you are stalled in life, or particularly if you are in transition, here are three ways I can help you Get Clear, Get Focused and Be Fruitful! 

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