Adam Hince

The musings of Syndal Baptist Church's Gen Y and Beyond Pastor

Whose church is your church?

Posted on | February 12, 2013 | No Comments

Whose church is your church?

Last Sunday morning (Feb 10, 2013) it was a privilege to be inducted as the Senior Pastor of Essendon Baptist Community Church. As a family we are very excited to have started here, and loving getting to know the people of this church and this part of our city.

Since finishing at Syndal Baptist Church, I’ve had the chance to have 7 weeks off! Whilst moving house consumed the first few weeks – it was a great blessing to have holidays for that long as a family. During that time – I did lots of thinking, especially about church. I was so humbled by all that happened in my farewells at Syndal, and by the expectations that were waiting for me at Essendon that for a while – I felt a bit overwhelmed. I read a passage from the bible that reassured me – and from that, I shared with the congregation at Essendon on Sunday morning.

Jesus and His closest followers were away from the crowd – and Jesus asks a question. “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13-20)
Initially – He’s asking what they have heard others say about Him, but then He zeroes in on what THEY think. He wants to check that they perceive Him correctly – as a person’s perception of Jesus will shape all that they experience of Him. And it’s possible to have a perception of Jesus that is inaccurate.

Following that – speaking directly to Peter – Jesus says 5 words that much has been written about. He says “I will build my church”. Often – my eyes have gone straight to the word “build”. For good reason… Jesus wants His church to grow! He wants to build the health of the church, and He wants to build the size of the church. He invites all people to know him, to be changed by Him and in His strength and by His grace truly repent from Sin and live for Him.

In my break – feeling overwhelmed – my eyes went to the two words that follow.
Jesus calls says He will “build MY church” … taking ownership of it.
In the message on Sunday – I put it this way …
“It’s as if the church is in Jesus hands. A church that is in His hands, is in a good place”

The church is described in the bible as ::
The gathered people of God.
The bride of Christ.
The body of Christ.
The temple of the Holy Spirit.

In every way – Jesus is central. And in the same way that we are protective, possessive and passionate about that which is important to us… Jesus is the same about His church.

Those two words forced me to ask myself – “Whose church is my church?”

You see – even though Jesus claims it as His in this part of the bible, what it is to me is something that I can define. It’s possible for us to think the church is “ours”, or to think the church is “theirs”. All sorts of things can lead to that.

If you feel like a church didn’t accept you, your ideas, your limits or even your story – it’s easy to think its “theirs”.
If a leader let you down – maybe they didn’t fulfil a promise, take an interest, or failed to honour their position – it’s easy to think its “theirs”.
If you feel like the church is for a certain kind of person, from a certain kind of family, with a certain amount of money, and a certain amount of happiness – and you don’t fit that mould…. it’s easy to think it’s “theirs”.

For a church to be “yours” is perhaps more deceptive… but just as powerful. It’s possible to own something too much, to even make your own personal ideas and preferences more important than they ought to be.

I’m not sure what it is for you – but for me – knowing that I’m part of Jesus church (both local and global) gives me great peace, and great excitement. And I’m determined to do whatever I can to ensure that the church I am a part of is very much “Jesus Church”.

I encourage you – do whatever it takes to free yourself to be able to see the church that you are a part of that way too!
It’s not always easy – especially when you have been hurt. I know.
But it’s worth it.

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