The Congregation in the Real World

Disciplines, or, as John Wesley would call them, “means of grace,” are activities (or refrains from action in some cases) that can put us in a position or a condition in which the Holy Spirit can work in us and/or for us more easily or more deeply. They can help us focus or communicate (both speaking and listening) by insulating us or preparing us for an exchange with God.

They include fasting, prayer, quietness, fellowship, reading the Bible, studying the Bible, memorizing the Bible, prophesying the Bible, meditating on the Bible, serving people, and much more. One discipline is becoming connected to a congregation.

Being a “member” of a congregation is not a requirement for pleasing God. Being an effective “member” of the Body of Christ could be a very different position to be in, though. Having my name on the roll of a local congregation doesn’t change anything about my eternal future. Having my name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life does.

Discovering your calling, identifying your Spiritual gift, and being in strong, committed relationship with people with whom you accomplish your ministry is very important. Not just for your own spiritual health, but so that you are in position to add your ministry to the Body. It is by every part (member) doing its part that the Body is built up in love (Ephesians 4:15,16).

Thinking only at congregational level is usually the environment that creates self-centeredness with regard to resources, and control of lives. That doesn’t mean being part of a congregation is bad. Having your thoughts, plans, values, influences and commitments limited to that arena is likely to stunt your growth and effectiveness.

Thinking of the Body and thinking of the future and thinking of birthing new ministries and congregations is a big enough mindset to keep us from becoming pitiful little clubs that control their members and live off them with little effect in the earth. Thinking at a Kingdom of Heaven invading the earth level will help the Body find her purposes in each place where she manifests.

The Body is the Family, and the Kingdom is the Family Business.