We Need Help
- Sheldon Clowdus
Having said all that, here is something that I know to be as true or more true as everything above:
We need help. We cannot reach everyone in Rome, GA alone. There are too many people and too many needs for my church to meet them all. We need help.
I live in a city of approximately 35,000 people. Rome is not a huge city by any means. However, to think that one church body can possibly effectively reach all 35,000 people in Rome is, I believe, foolish. Once you look outside the city limits to all of Floyd county, that 35,000 number swells to 90,000. The bottom line is that in order for all of Rome and Floyd county to be reached with the gospel, we need help.
Now, I don't know what churches in your neck of the woods are like, but around here it sometimes seems that building your church is much more important than building the kingdom of God. Churches are afraid to partner with other churches in fear that their members might discover they like some other church better and jump ship. People like to move from church to church anyway around here (we call this sheep swapping) so it is better to not partner with neighbor churches for the advancement of the gospel because they might steal our members if we do.
The other obstacle I see to churches really becoming partners in ministry is that some churches actually think they will reach all of the city, county, world for Christ. If you believe you don't need any help, then you don't look for help and you are less apt to take help when it is offered.
At the root of the obstacles mentioned above are fear and pride. Fear that our personal kingdoms may decrease if we partner with others and pride in our ability to make a difference for God. I can't think of too many qualities as counter productive to kingdom building as these two.
One of the things we are trying to change as we develop a more complete, intentional leadership develop system is the culture of territorial-ism within our own church. I want our leaders to know that we don't expect them to reach everyone in a 10 block radius of their home or everyone who works in the same office building as them. What we do expect them to do is to live out the gospel everyday in a way that glorifies God and to take advantage of every opportunity He affords them but there is no quota or minimum they must reach to be considered successful. We believe they do this by using the gifts God has given them and pursuing whole heartedly the areas of ministry that God has burdened them for.
What we want to do is to equip them to be the part of the body, both locally and universally, that God intends for them to be. Look at what Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 12:14-20:
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
Our goal is to help our people discover what part of the body of Christ they are and equip them to be that body part through the power of the Spirit working through them. Part of that process is realizing that as a congregation, we are a part of the universal body of Christ and have a part to play as well. Just as Christ has made each individual believer different and unique, so also are our churches unique. What my church does not do well, another church may excel at. What sense does it make to try to do something we are not equipped to do when the church right down the road excels at it? Why not let them do that while we do the things God has equipped us, as a body, to do?
The bottom line is we need help. We want to do our part to reach our community but we cannot do it all and we cannot do it alone.
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. -- Ecclesiastes 4:9
I long for Northside to be a church that puts the kingdom of God above our own kingdom, a church that partners with other churches in the spread of the Gospel, a church not motivated by fear or pride but by an all consuming desire to bring glory to the Creator of all things by teaching and living a life devoted to Him, and to reach as many people in our community as we can for the kingdom.
The only thing is.....
We need help.