The fundamental nature of ministry is that it is Christ centered and views the world through the lens of the cross. Any sermon, outreach, teaching, program, or event must be connected to the cross, motivated by the cross, and given power by the cross. In this we have the opportunity to intimately connect with God for not just our salvation, but our regeneration through the Holy Spirit that sanctifies and empowers us for mission.
The apostle Paul reveals to us in Colossians 1:6 how important understanding the grace of God is in bearing fruit as a community of believers. Grace marks the Christian faith throughout its journey. We see God’s grace before conversion, the grace of God at conversion, and the grace of God in sanctification. Yet we are not called to simply be recipients of grace, but vessels of grace, carrying that same compassion and opportunity for revival to the sinful world around us. When we truly understand what the cross of Christ has done for us, and believe it has done the same for those around us, we have the means to challenge the cycles of hurt and brokenness, and replace them with opportunity for love and revival.
Two aspects of church life are essential to accomplishing this. The first is the community and corporate nature of the Church. As different members of the body our gifts work together to complement each other. Also, the testimony of many speaks louder than the testimony of the individual. While the testimony of an individual can be a powerful thing, seeing the power of God over and over in community points more toward Christ than the resilience of any one individual.
Second is the Church’s capacity for love and fellowship. In relationship with people united around Christ, the gospel reveals its light. In a culture divided on so many issues, seeing diversity come together under the banner of Christ paves a path forward to reconcile differences and display true love and hope. Programs open the door for us to connect with people, but relationships are where Christ will truly be revealed.
Too often our primary driving force is connecting people with God’s blessings, the gifts and benefits of the Christian life. But before anything else, a connection with God Himself, His grace, and His love will bear more fruit than the pursuit of any individual benefit of the faith.
The Church has the Potential to reveal to the world the Hope of Christ, the Peace of Christ, the Love of Christ and the Joy of Christ.