It is fascinating to watch our new church building take shape. Since the Groundbreaking service on April 27, 2014, new developments are just about a daily occurrence. That has stimulated my thinking about church building from time to time! Here are some of my thoughts.
The building that is taking shape and the grounds that are being re-shaped are not the product of a solitary workman! Though I don’t have exact numbers, most likely there have been over 200 different individuals who have spent time working on that project – so far. I recall when the preliminary bids went out and somewhere between 50 and 55 different trades were solicited for bids. Since then some others have been added, like a company that makes organs, a stained-glass studio, a company specializing in audio/visual components, and so on.
When the church building is finally complete it will not be the product of a solitary workman, nor of a single trade group. It will be a single building beautifully reflecting the skilled, disciplined, and complementary work of folk with vastly varied vocational callings. Plumbers, surveyors, electricians, crane operators, sound engineers, carpenters, inspectors, and many other vocations will have done their jobs with great skill, but in a disciplined way that follows the plan of the blueprint, and yet each trade will work in concert with other trades to complement their work. Pretty astounding when you think about it!
Those thoughts about church building lead me to think about another sphere of church building: the true church that is made up of human beings, not brick and mortar. The same elements that I’ve described above need to be present if the true church is to flourish and beautifully reflect God’s glory. The Bible is full of texts that speak to this matter. Here’s one from Romans 12:
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not
have the same function, so we who are many, are one body in Christ, and
individually members of one another. We have gifts that differ . . .
Just as it takes many trades to build a church building, in a like manner it takes many different gifts to build the spiritual church body. The text in Romans goes on to mention gifts as varied as prophecy and service and teaching and giving and exhorting and leading.
The lists of gifts in the Bible are not meant to be exhaustive, but illustrative. There are lots of different gifts. Just as it is with our new church building, so it is with the spiritual church. No solitary workman and no single gifting group is able to build the church alone. Gifts from God are meant to be used in conjunction with other gifts He’s given within the body.
The text from Romans goes on to say how those gifts are to be exercised. Here are some of the attributes we’re to seek in exercising our gifts:
Devoted to one another in love . . . giving preference to one another in honor . . .
fervent in spirit . . . not lagging behind in diligence . . .pursuing hospitality . . .
rejoicing in hope . . . devoted to prayer . . . persevering in tribulation . . .
not haughty in mind . . . not wise in your own eyes . . . serving the Lord.
Here’s my question for you: How has God gifted you; how does the Lord Jesus want to use you in the spiritual body of Leidy’s Church? This question presumes two things: 1) God has gifted you; and 2) You want to be used by the Lord in the way He intends.
I would like to encourage you to step out in faith and ask the Lord to use you in the work of Leidy’s Church. We always have need of faithful Christian workers. Any activity that takes place needs multiple gifts to accomplish the goal. There must be some folk who have the vision for what is to be done. Others find their role to be in helping put the nuts and bolts into place for the vision to be carried out. Still others will find their role in being communication links to help make everyone aware of what’s going to take place. Of course, there must be those who serve, that is, do the actual work of the ministry.
Here’s an example. This fall we plan to do Judgement House. We’ll need scores of people to carry out this ministry. Already some folk are working on the script selection and laying out how the scenes will flow. Before it’s all said and done we’ll need people who can construct sets, others to be in charge of particular scenes, we’ll need lots of actors and actresses of all ages, some folk will do make-up, others will help provide snacks and refreshments, and the list goes on and on.
As we anticipate moving into the new physical church building, we need to think about new opportunities for ministry that will come with it. While it’s very clear what the new physical church building is going to look like, it’s not so clear yet all the ways that God wants to use us in the context of that building. It is a good time to re-evaluate what we have been doing with a view to making adjustments. It is a good time to consider what we’ve not been doing and plan how we might do some new things.
We should not forget that ministry crosses all generational lines. God gifts individuals of all ages. The church has young and old and all those in between! Each has something to contribute. Don’t consider yourself too young; don’t consider yourself too old. The Lord can and will use you.
May you and your household have a delightful summer. As we continue to watch the new church building take shape I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to stir in you a desire to be faithful to use the gifts God has given you.
In the Joy of the Lord,
John H.C. Niederhaus