God in His grace has given us a very robust community. We not only enjoy vibrant worship together, we are also engaged in numerous forms of parish life together, and then, on top of that, ministry outreach together. In recent years, the number of ministry opportunities for members of our church have exploded—from ISF to Thrive, to Parish Discipleship Groups, to the Center for Biblical Counseling, to Music Camp, and so on.
So this exhortation comes in the form of a caution. As we reach out, and as we minister to non-Christians, and as we labor alongside fellow Christians from other traditions, the chances are good that we will start experiencing pressure, sometimes spoken sometimes not, to dilute our Reformed distinctives. What Christ Church is doing is wonderful. Can we do anything to make it less Christ Churchy?
For over two centuries, evangelicals in North America have been presented with a false alternative. We think that a “thick” appreciation of denominational distinctives necessarily means sectarianism, telling the outside world to take a hike, and we also think the only alternative to this is to “thin” those distinctives out for the sake of broader unity. This has resulted in an anemic form of the faith, a lowest common denominator approach, a seeker-sensitive take on the world. But there is a third approach—a thick embrace of all that God has given us, but not so that we might keep it to ourselves. Our mission statement is all of Christ for all of life. This does not just apply to our time of worship. Of necessity it also extends to everything we do, and that would include all our outreach ministries.
So get involved. Stay involved. Embrace the tasks. Lean in. But as we pursue all these ministry opportunities, we should take care “to dance with the one what brung us.”
I like that.
Romans 14 1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.5 One person… Read more »
Well said Doug. I hope to encounter one of Christ Church’s ministries someday and I sincerely hope that you guys haven’t lost any of your Christ Churchyness. There is something unifying about a group of believers who are equally resolved to “let every man be convinced in his own mind” as they are to “love one another”. There is nothing quite like it in all the world. On another note. Your use of the phrase “lean in” is disturbing to me. In the military they use that phrase all the time and it came to be understood that “leaning in”… Read more »