[Membership Series 2 of 3]
Members are on Mission because membership matters
In part one of our series on membership (Membership Matters), we saw that membership of the local church is important in God’s plans for the world. Here in part two we take a look particularly at Reforming Church as our local church, and what it means for members to be on mission together.
Being members means we are in partnership with one another, we are a team. In Philippians 1:5, the Apostle Paul says this of the church at Philippi, that he is thankful for their partnership in the gospel. The word he uses (κοινωνία) could be translated as ‘fellowship’ or ‘partnership’, and it’s where we get the word ‘coin’ from (meaning: ‘that which is held in common’). This makes much sense of the meaning of membership, and its function. That is, the end of membership is not that you and I are on a list, but that together we are on a mission.
So what is the mission of Reforming Church? It is really Jesus’ mission…
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18 – 20)
“We make disciple-makers of Jesus Christ by prayerfully teaching people His word, the Bible”
Our mission is really Jesus mission. He is the one who gave it to us, His church. This is what God is doing in the world, and He calls us to abandon our short-sighted ambitions and see His big picture plans. He invites us into His plans. Amazing.
We make disciple-makers.
So what is a disciple, and how do we make one? A disciple is a forgiven sinner who is learning and loving Christ in repentance and faith. Disciples are people who have been transformed and are reforming by the word of God in the power of the Spirit.
When we see from the Scriptures that the Greek word for disciple means ‘learner or student’, like an apprentice learning from a master-teacher. Jesus is the great master-teacher, and we as disciples listen to His word, the Bible. Jesus says to “teach them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
The church is therefore a learning community who are reforming together. The fruit of this will be love, the result of learning all that Jesus has commanded and the resulting work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer and in the body of Christ.
We teach the Bible.
Disciples are not going to make disciples just by hanging out with each other, God’s design for this mission and ministry is that disciples teach people(s) all of God’s gospel word, who may then teach others, who then may teach others – until the end of the age when Christ returns. Teaching the Bible to people is not an academic exercise which is isolated from fellowship, rather, Jesus gives us our mission by highlighting how incredibly relational teaching the Bible is to people.