What is God Doing Through the Church?

In my mind’s eye, I can see one panel of a Pontius Puddle cartoon. The earth stands in the centre, and radiating out all around are cartoon speech bubbles asking, What can one person do? What can one person do? What can one person do? What can one person do? What can one person do?

Thankfully, I am not just one person faced by a world of need. I am part of a local church which is part of the world-wide body of Christ that stretches from the time of the New Testament throughout history and into the future. So instead of asking over and over, What can one person do–and despairing over our inadequacies–we can join together in the body of Christ and ask, what is God doing?

What is God doing through the church? What does your church have to offer?

In Begin Anew, general editor Palmer Becker and his team write,

In a world that is filled with need, what do followers of Christ and the church have to offer?

When we behave like Christ, we will offer:

• Fellowship in place of loneliness

• Forgiveness in place of guilt or shame

• Meaning to life in place of emptiness

• Peace and hope in place of fear and despair.

Some of this might be expressed in the church’s preaching and teaching. Some might take place more informally over a potluck meal or personal conversation. How do you see these things offered through your church? What else does your church have to offer?

Of course much more could be said in response to the opening question, What is God doing through the church? But this brief meditation is at least a start, and it ends with two questions to prompt further reflection.

What’s more, it’s just one of a series of meditations that will soon be part of Begin Anew, which is a series of Christian Discipleship seminars edited by Palmer Becker and produced by Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada. The participants’ material for Begin Anew is already available in English and Spanish as a free download at CommonWord Bookstore and Resource Centre, and additional resources are in various stages of development, including a leader’s guide, videos of leaders and churches putting faith into practice, and a series of brief meditations like the one above. Download the participants material for Begin Anew here.

Writing/Reflection Prompt: What is God doing through the church? What does your church have to offer?

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4 replies

  1. What a beautiful picture of what the church needs to be. Thanks, April. And Palmer Becker!

    • Thanks for your comment, Mary. I so appreciate the work that Palmer is doing to explain the basics of Christian faith simply and clearly. His What is an Anabaptist Christian has been translated into multiple languages, and so far the Begin Anew participant guide is available in English and Spanish.

  2. Thanks for affirming the Begin Anew renewal materials. We trust and pray that they will help many to begin anew to believe in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the grace of God, to belong to a fellowship that is like a family, to become more mature through Bible reading, prayer, generous giving and accountability, and to behave like Christ in response to need, their gifts and their calling. Thanks, April, for your excellent meditations for session thirteen. This week Ardys and I are beginning each day with one of them.

    • Thank you for stopping by, Palmer. It’s my pleasure and privilege to contribute in a small way to Begin Anew, and I join you in that prayer for the materials to help many begin anew. Blessings to both you and Ardys.

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