“The Church is God’s Plan A.”
Many people search a long time for a place or a group where they belong. Part of the challenge of following Christ is that He calls us to make Him the first priority in our lives. This can mean a loss of friendships or even conflict between others who do not understand or like our new found “Christianity.” Some of us have belonged to churches but have not found the type of close knit “community” we were hoping for. This discouragement can lead to us not seeking to belong to a fellowship of believers.
There are others who have found the most intimate relationships with believers as they gather in small groups. New groups called Gospel or Missional Communities provide a place for not just Life Coaching and Discipleship, but also situations that provide ministry experiences and opportunities to reach out to neighborhoods and communities. Some people have found great benefit to gatherings of large numbers, where worship celebrations give energy and encouragement and notable preaching and teaching happens to many people. Contrasting this large dynamic environment we see small community based churches provide close knit relational ministry where no one is a stranger.
There are different reasons for each organization and group, and each also have benefits and challenges. But whether you like big, small, city, country, monolithic or transcultural, God has no other plan than using the church to build disciples.
Why does God choose to use the “church”? Just how does Jesus continue His ministry through what seems to be such a disorganized and fractured institution?
Jesus knew that we would be here today! He prayed for us as well as His disciples in his last meal with them before He went to the cross.
17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
20 I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:16-21)ESV
Ministries such as WDA serve the church worldwide to build Christlike character and teach those men and women to do the same, following a process and plan we see Jesus doing in His ministry.
“Jesus had a plan for building mature leaders. He equipped them, addressed the obstacles that hindered their growth, and commissioned them to do the same for others. But we need to remember that these leaders fulfilled His commission by planting churches. Disciple building that produces maturity takes place in the church. The Church is God’s Plan A. There is no Plan B.
This doesn’t mean that parachurch organizations such as WDA aren’t strategic in disciple building efforts. Seminaries, Bible schools, and denominational and interdenominational missions are of vital importance. Most scholars believe these are part of the Church as ex- tensions of local churches or coalitions of churches, and we agree. But we also believe maturity occurs best in spiritual community, overseen by skilled leaders. For this reason, local churches must be mobilized and equipped to help people grow to maturity.” [Maturity Matters by Bob Dukes, p118.]
Read more about how God uses the church in building Christlike maturity in believers.
Maturity Matters by Bob Dukes