Do you ever find yourself wondering, “What’s the point of church, anyway?” If not, please bear with me a moment, because I think it is always a question worth asking.
It is often repeated that church is a people, not a building. This is true. A local church is a family of God’s people in a particular time and place, gathered to worship God and follow Jesus together. Yes, we may own property and deal with buildings and institutional matters, but primarily we are a family, with God as our heavenly father, Jesus as our Lord and savior, and the Holy Spirit within us and guiding us. We are called to follow Jesus and through him love and worship God, and love and serve our neighbors.
Thankfully we’re not left alone to figure out how to “do church.” We have the Bible to show us what it means to be God’s people together. After his death and resurrection, and right before his ascension into heaven, Jesus left us with our mission, that still stands today: “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)
So based on Jesus’ words, this is our mission: to make disciples of Jesus. This mission will never change, although it may look different in certain times and places. This is why I propose that our mission here and now is this: to grow and make disciples of Jesus Christ in and around Bennington.
Many of us have been disciples (or, if you prefer, followers) of Jesus for a long time, so we are here to grow in our faith, and to help others grow and become disciples of Jesus too. Others of us are new in our faith, so we look to grow all the more. Others may not yet be ready to give ourselves to Jesus. Still others may be at a low point in our faith. The point is we are all called to follow Jesus, and together we are called to help others know and love Jesus too.
As we follow Jesus we will experience the freedom and joy of life as a forgiven and fully-loved child of God, and our lives will be changed. We will share God’s heart for the lost and lonely and hurting around us (whether or not they appear to “have their act together”), and reach out to bless others with the love that only God can provide. This can have many aspects, so we gather together to discern how we can serve God and love others here and now in this place, in specific ways. Are you a disciple of Jesus? Let’s follow him together!