“Cultivating A Covenant Community”

As I contemplated what spiritual and emotional characteristics a church in transition should adopt, my prayer continued to be the same, Lord please allow the church to emerge from this crisis period unscarred by scandal or saddled with the label of “inadequate to minister to our local community”.

Now, months later after considering it more closely, I realize that a little upheaval mixed with a dose of debate and sprinkled with a dash of tribulation, makes for a powerful cocktail!

The early ekklesia (church) located in Jerusalem, was forced to expand their reach of function and community beyond their initial location, due to persecution. This was the practical impetus behind the disciples traveling beyond their comfortable borders to fulfill the great commission, which may have been faster than they anticipated.

All too often, we consider that the ekklesia community can only be maintained by the familiar routine of niceties and suppressed emotional expressions. We eschew the idea that a crisis of theological vision, a change in leadership and a hearty discussion of opposing views, could possibly serve to enhance the spiritual development and maturity of that community.

If the prayer is, “Lord, please make sure that my church continues to enjoy a life of ease and comfort”, then that prayer runs counter to the narrative of the New Testament text; where often through great difficulty, debate and changes, the ekklesia emerges from a fledging gathering of Jewish followers to the veil torn, marvelous patchwork of people from diverse ethnicities, nationalities and cultures that work together in community to bring the Kingdom of God to bear on their local context.

So, before we draw a conclusion or render our prayers obsolete, let’s consider that the things we thought would hinder our comfortable existence, may actually serve to strengthen our bond and harden our resolve to Fulfill the mission of Christ as a covenant community.

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