According to the Bible, the church is the body of Christ—all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. The local church is where the members of the universal church can fully apply the “body” principles of 1 Corinthians chapter 12: encouraging, teaching, and building one another up in the knowledge and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. “God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Cor 12:24b-27)
There are problems in every local church body. What I will tell you is that I have been having a spiritual crisis in mine. The Holy Spirit hasn’t given me peace to leave it and find another. But I have been encouraged to reach out to those on the staff about needs I see aren’t being met. While what I want to do is leave and find another church home, I am reminded of God’s Word: “The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” (Prov. 28:1)
So I am being obedient, and making contact and again asking for fundamental things to change. We are encouraged to speak God’s Word boldly. “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly.” (Acts 4:31)
I have a burden in my heart for not just my church, but the churches across our country. The “church of America” seems to focus more on increasing their numbers in services than on increasing disciples and equipping the brethren to reach out to others. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
If you are a Christ follower, you are not just a member of a church–we are the church. Let’s pray boldly for the Holy Spirit to move our pastors and staff in churches to be burdened with training in righteousness and thoroughly equipping the church (us) for every good work. The Lord has called those in the ministry to use to reach out to those who need Jesus for His purpose and His glory. But the pastors and staff aren’t perfect; just like you and me they are human and have faults. So we must pray boldly for them. “Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jer. 3:15) And as Christ followers we also have the duty to speak boldly when we see needs that aren’t being met; we weren’t called to be timid. “For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:6-7)
I am praying that those churches and leaders whose fruits of thoroughly equipping the saints aren’t evident, are also burdened with what the Lord wants from His church–His body of believers. His Word says that all servants of God are to be thoroughly equipped for every good work for His plan and for His glory. I am praying that church leaders and members have no peace until they seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to fully equip the body of believers. Will you pray boldly with me?