Weekly Reflections

Bringing a church to completion 14 Nov 10

Bringing a church to completion

25 years ago a new parish was formed in Willetton. That wasn’t its beginning of course. It grew out of another parish that itself had been formed by a small community of enthusiastic disciples of Jesus. They wanted to start a church that would cater for the whole family of God – children, parents, singles, older folk – everyone together in one community.

As it grew it adapted and changed but the gospel kept being proclaimed and people kept on turning to Christ. This particular fruit of that mission continues to grow and proclaim the gospel.  But will it survive?

I am sure Paul asked similar questions about the churches he helped to start. Writing to the church at Philippi he said, “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1.16).

That is the stage we are up to. God is bringing to completion something he started 25 or more years ago. How long will it take to complete the growth of this church? Until the day of Jesus Christ – when he returns to gather his people from the four corners of the world.

But how is he bringing his work to completion? That is a question for us to be sure about. How does God grow and build his church? How does he form it so that its life resembles the life of Christ himself? How does he add to it so that more and more people are joined into Christ’s body?

He does it through each of the members of the church as they minister to each other. But what ministry? There are two kinds. For everyone there is a ministry of the word of God to each other. It is God’s word which builds his church, and each of us has a part to play to make sure that God’s word is alive amongst us and enriches all of us. It means encouraging, teaching, rebuking, building each other up by speaking the word of God to each other.

The other kind of ministry varies according to the gifts and calling God has given us. In both cases the ministry happens as we follow the Holy Spirit and depend on his power and leading and gifting: as we share in God’s completion of what he began.