Friday, June 11, 2010

Church as Household of God

One of the most powerful images of the church that Curtis Paul DeYoung highlights in Coming Together in the 21st Century: The Bible’s Message in an Age of Diversity, is the church as the household of God. The phrase is found in 1 Peter 4:17, Galatians 6:10, and Ephesians 2:19. In Ephesians 2:19-20, we read:

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

“Household of God” may be a more powerful image than “family of God” for believers. The home was the center of life in Jesus’ day. Very often the economic as well as the social lives of family members were centered in the home as family members had particular responsibilities in a family business. Roles were understood and responsibilities were accepted. Everyone had a place in the household and a contribution to make.

This is a great example of cooperation, one that we need in the church today. A church in our area has chosen to reach out to other parts of the world to start new congregations. Their strategy is to put together teams of church members who will relocate to another part of the world to plant a new church. This is a long-term investment that requires them to give up their lives here and become part of the new culture. One team will soon leave for an Asian country and another is preparing to go to a European county. The genius of the plan is that they are spending their time prior to departure in studying, planning, and praying together. They are getting to know each other strengths, needs, and skills. They will truly be a family, a household of God, before they leave on their mission. When they begin the tough job of church planting, they will know how to support and help each other.

This is the way that a church ought to operate. In the church, we should come to know each other’s strengthens and needs, acknowledging our dependence on God to provide both the mission, priorities, and structure for the work. We can become what God has called us to be in this household because God is the founder and guide.

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