Interim Pastor David Johnson Report
A Congregation Called Christ Lutheran Church
Sometime ago I was taking with an individual. This person had some health problems due to aging but was still very active in the church and other community organizations. This person then told me about needing to cut back. But then there was the statement that warmed my heart, "But I'm not cutting back from the church." This was a breath of fresh air in a society that activity in the church is most often first to go If life is stressed with too many activities, church involvement is the first to go; if finances are tight, church donations suffer; if priorities need to be reshuffled, church falls to the bottom of the list.
But what should "church" and "congregation" mean to us? In the New Testament, the word translated 'church" is ecclesia. Ecclesia means "called out." For Christians this has two meanings. First, Christ has "called us out" from the rest of humanity to witness how his Iife, death, and resurrection has changed and informs our daily life. In this sense we are to be "separated" from non-Christians. The intention of Pharisees in the New Testament was to be the "separated ones" but gradually they lost sight of what God intended for them to be 'separated" for—the service and salvation of mankind. Arrogance and pride, rather than grace and humility, became their life. As Martin Luther is so often quoted, 'we are in the world, but not of the world.'
The second significance of ecclesia, "'called out", is to be "called out into the world. Our distinctiveness as Christians does not signify that we are isolated from the rest of humanity. It is exactly the opposite. We are to witness and disciple with our abilities and our lives the rest of humanity so that they come to understand and believe in Jesus Christ, too. We are not out to make members, but disciples. We are always on a mission for Jesus Christ. So in the words of Stuart Briscoe: "The church is not a place you go, it's a place you are!"
Human beings are social creatures. People need to relate to other people for a variety of reasons (e.g. internet, Facebock). This is equally true for Christians. The Jews had been doing this for centuries in the temple. When the temple was destroyed, the synagogue emerged. When Jesus ascended into heaven the disciples gathered in homes (Acts 2:42) as "congregations". They gathered (gregated) with (con) other Christians. They recognized the need to worship and pray together as well as continually encourage, support, and nurture their faith in Jesus Christ. There is a saying, 'You can become a Christian without going to church, but you cant remain one." To remain steady in faith, you must congregate with other believers so that your faith will grow strong and you will able to handle the world you are to be in but not of. Otherwise, the ways of the world will swallow you up and spit you out as another casualty of its seductive power. The Christian church is not about making members, it is about making disciples that are 'called cut" and "congregate*
We appreciate those who choose to be "called out' and "congregate" at Christ Lutheran Church. Our witness of Jesus Christ continues to bring the Gospel of God's Kingdom out part of creation, How could Christ Lutheran attract more n our community to be "called out" and "congregate" with us as disciples?
|Christ Lutheran Church is part of the La
Crosse Area Synod of the ELCA and Evangelical Lutheran Church in
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