Garden Park finished its study through Ephesians today, discussing what it means to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20).
Here are a few snippets:
Which, of course, can raise some troubling realizations for our churches. If the first description of your church (by a non-church goer) isn’t, “There’s really something different about them, they way they care for each other and their neighborhood. Maybe there really is something to that Jesus guy….” then I think Paul would say the church is failing.
Like Lencioni’s leadership pyramid, I think we can look at church effectiveness by peeling off the layers backward. If the above statement isn’t the first description from neighborhood people, how do we treat salvation? Are we still greedy and looking for our own needs (fighting over carpet color) or sacrificing that for others sake? If you struggle here, keep moving backward. Is your faith passive (glad I said the prayer) or active (encouraging each other)? Have you (and your church) decided to join God in his mission to redeem all things? Do you know that God is crazy about you? And lastly, if you struggle here, no wonder the rest isn’t working: do you actually believe (and live accordingly) that the resurrection matters and actually makes a difference in the world? If you don’t believe it, or don’t live like it, no wonder the rest isn’t falling into place.
Our calling as the church is to join God in advancing his Kingdom (disciple-making), his pronouncement to Peter was that the gates of hell wouldn’t be able to stand against us (the church) when we took this mission seriously. How’s your church doing?
Please Enter the Discussion below. Where do you see your church in this progression? How have you experienced the good and the bad before? What words of encouragement do you have for others?
I’ll be offering some closing thoughts on Ephesians tomorrow, a few more thoughts that couldn’t generally fit into blog posts due to length requirements. This one was already really long, so I’ll have a bit more tomorrow along with a few thoughts from other passages.