This is the fourth of a series of nine blogs discussing our Core Values at Shoreline Church. These are the 9 things that we value at the core of who we are as a fellowship of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are a church that is “all about Jesus” and these embody what we find important as a fellowship. Our vision is to intersect the gospel and grace of Jesus with a lost and needy world. Our mission is to win, disciple, and send people. For more details, visit www.thisisShoreline.com.
VIBRANT COMMUNITY: WE BELONG TO ONE ANOTHER
Definition of vibrant: pulsating with life, vigor, or activity
Definition of community: unified body of individuals: people with common interests living in a particular area; a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society; fellowship
The church, instituted by Christ (Matthew 16:18), is a community like none other. It is a living, growing, organism with the Christ at its head and the Holy Spirit as its source of life. At Shoreline, we want to affirm and celebrate this vibrant community.
God’s design for the church is that all believers should share with each other in all things – in joys and in sorrows, in material possessions and in spiritual encouragement. We are told in Acts 2:44-45 that the believers in the early church “were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” Those early Christians were together constantly – eating together, ministering to each other, sharing with each other, and evangelizing together.
Another word for this is fellowship. The Greek word used in the New Testament for fellowship is koinonia. What all is entailed in the word? A lot. It sums up all things related to fellowship – communion, sacrificial living, sharing material possessions, sharing sorrows and joys, close loving relationships. This kind of close fellowship flows from a close, intimate, love relationship with God. Henry Blackaby puts it this way in his book Experiencing God: “Koinonia is the most complete expression of a love relationship with God. When you live in this kind of love relationship with God you will have the same quality of loving fellowship with other believers.”
A church isn’t a social club, a weekly occurrence, or a motivational, self-empowerment meeting. It’s a living organism with many parts. With Christ as the head, the organism functions best when all the parts are functioning together.
The New Testament is littered with multiple references to our unity, our oneness, and our belonging to each other. In Romans 12:3-5 Paul reminds the church in Rome that “we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” Likewise, in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, Paul shares God’s design for the unity of the church with the Corinthians. Using the picture of the human body, he tells them that being many, they are members of one body, the body of Christ. We were all baptized into one body, and that body is not one member but many.
God’s design for the church is that we would not live independently of one another, but interdependently. We need to live in dependence on God and in interdependence with one another. A believer that does not engage with other believers or belong to a church is missing a piece of the puzzle. They have cheated themselves and stunted their own growth. “Apart from the other members of the church (the body) you will not be able to experience the fullness of life God intends for you.” (Blackaby)
God intends that the Christian life be vibrant, vigorous, full of life and activity, and this is best done within community. This vibrancy is exhibited within the church, in the church’s outreach to its community, the world, and ministry to other churches with the same objectives in mind. All of this is accomplished through experiencing community with other believers.
Being one body made up of many members we have one common goal – one mission always at the front of our minds – to go into all the world and to preach the gospel. This is summed up simply in Shoreline’s mission statement: “Win. Disciple. Send.” This is the goal of our church and it should the goal of all believers. We certainly cannot accomplish this task apart from the powerful indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, but we also cannot accomplish this task without each other.
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
Do you agree with vibrant community as a core value? This is Shoreline!