Monday, April 11, 2016

Looking Forward to April 17, 2016 -- Easter 4, Paul in Corinth

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • Acts 18:1-11 1
  • Corinthians 1:10-18
The Sermon title is Church Building

Early Thoughts: What does it take to build a church?

It takes a vision, and possibly a visionary.  It needs a person or a group of people who see what is possible. People who are willing to pony up the support needed as the new community coalesces and grows.

It takes a sense of mission, a clarity of the Gospel.

It takes a willingness to work together despite differences.

Sometimes it seems that last one can be the hardest to find...

As we follow Paul through the book of Acts, supplemented by what he himself says in his letters, we see him planting and building churches.  We see a visionary with a firm grasp of the Gospel he is called to share. We see a preacher who is not dismayed by early "failures" and obstructionist behaviour but shakes himself off and tries again. We see a man who is able to form a core community of faith who will carry on after he has moved on. And when it comes to Corinth, we see that differences withing the community can cause trouble from the beginning.

The overarching theme of the letter we call 1 Corinthians is unity in (or despite?) diversity. This will come up over and over. But in this first chapter the problem appears to be that the community is divided by who they see as the best teacher of the faith. In response Paul reminds them that the teacher is not the point. The one to whom the teachers point is the center of attention.

THe process of church building never really stops.  We don't get to the point of being able to point at it and say "There! Done!". And so we continue to need that core group of vision-keepers (and vision-casters). And we still need that clarity of mission, that understanding of the Gospel/Evangel/Good News that we have to share. And we still need to be ready to look at and deal with the differences of opinion and understanding that come up.

How do we continue to build/renovate/re-build the church?

1 comment:

  1. I found your comment at RGBP and really like the opening of this blog: "What does it take to build a church?" and the short list that follows. We just finished text study a few minutes ago so I'm forwarding this to a couple of colleagues, but please know that I'll be checking back here a bit more often because God knows we don't have a lot of places to turn for shared conversation around NL preaching. (Yes, I know about the Facebook page but sometimes I can't bear with my sisters & brothers there. [chuckle...]) I just wanted to offer a word of encouragement for engaging this preaching and faith-building task in the NL realm. Thanks!