What do you think about when you hear the word, “thriving”? Financial comfort and having a job that you love? An exciting social life? Living in a safe neighborhood? What about just spending some quality time alone and/or being in the presence of God? While these are all good things for us as individuals, the authors of Thriving Communities talk about how we as the church body are called to go beyond our comforts by helping those who are less fortunate, namely providing for the weak. “To thrive as a community necessitates that we provide for the weak and downtrodden, not as a kind of add-on to the central mission of the church, but as something integral to its identity. Making room for the weak members of the community is at the very core of what it means to be a foretaste of the coming kingdom of God.” (Rowe & Jones) Examples of the church providing for the weak can be found all throughout the book of Acts. Selling one’s goods and giving the money to those in need is one that shows up several different times. Once in chapter two, verses 44-45 and another time in chapter four, verses 34-35. Another example of the church providing for those in need can be found in chapter 11, verses 27-30 when the “mission” church of Antioch sends relief through Saul and Barnabas to the “home” church in Jerusalem during a famine. As clearly seen, providing for the weak surely makes for a thriving church community. The fourth trait that identifies a thriving church community is articulacy of belief. Now, to help us understand what this means, Miriam Webster defines the word, “articulate” as being able to “express oneself readily, clearly, and effectively.” We as Christians need to be able to clearly communicate the why for our beliefs so other people around us might be able to understand the reason for how and why we live the way we do. However, Rowe and Jones assure us that possessing this type of articulacy does not mean we have to also be well educated or have a high IQ. As a matter of fact, two of Jesus’s followers, Peter and John, were known as “uneducated, common men” but that didn’t stop them from sharing what they knew and understood to be true of Christ (see Acts 4:13). After all, He was the one who taught them everything they knew (at least as far as the Gospel is concerned)! Isn’t it comforting to know that we don’t have to have a college degree, or even a high school diploma, to share the Gospel of Christ? As long as we know and understand the Gospel well, we’re set. “Everyone in the community, and not just the scholars or intellectuals, must learn to speak about why the community exists. This part of a leader’s work, then: to transmit this information to the group, helping them to know why the institution exists and enabling them also to impart that belief to others.” (Rowe & Jones) To close out this week’s post, I impart to you Proverbs 1:7.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
I serve on staff as both Receptionist and Administrative Assistant for Gulf Coast Community Church and as Executive/Administrative Assistant for CoMission, the church's college outreach ministry. My role in CoMission specifically, includes bookkeeping, calendar oversight, document editing and of course, my favorite part: writing this blog. My hope for this blog is to help you get a feel for what the heartbeat of CoMission is about as I share various content on the topics of discipleship, evangelism, college outreach strategies, and everything in between. I'll even share an occasional update on the current events of CoMission as we strive to raise and equip disciples for the sake of the Gospel on the USFSP campus. May you be well informed and encouraged with every post. To Him be the glory.