A Body that Generationally Lasts

Paul wrote, “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV)

The Kingdom is about love. The church, or as Paul says “the body”, is to be about building each other up in love.

When we are kingdom builders rather than just building a church for ourselves - when we are people totally surrendered to Jesus rather than religious people just going through the motions, then we will be used by God to bring about his will here on earth. He wants to build us on top of the work he has done through Alexander Campbell, Soren Kierkegaard, John Wesley, Martin Luther, and all of the other faithful people that have lived, or should I say died to themselves while still living, since the time of Jesus - the cornerstone on which his kingdom is built. God builds his kingdom one life at a time.

During some generations, the kingdom has seen significant growth and progress. During others, we can seen darkness and depravity. If you look at the rings on an old tree, you will see that trees grow more some years than others. You can see years where it faced a great fire or drought, and you can see other years where growing conditions were great. It’s all there in the rings. The same is with the kingdom. It has good years and bad years, but good and bad growth are a result of the human hearts that are part of the kingdom rather than an indictment on God’s will. God wants his kingdom to flourish, grow, and transform the world, and he will empower his people to do that if we are willing. He’s patient and is waiting for a group of people to say, “Use us!”

When I think of the kingdom, I typically wonder, “What state am I going to leave the kingdom when I pass on?” There has been a lot of talk lately in Christian publications of passing the baton in churches because the kingdom is not a sprint, it’s a relay. It’s not one person excelling, but people faithfully serving and handing the mission down from generation to generation. Some churches do it well, some struggle to do it but eventually do, and some just die out. At the one church I interviewed at last spring, they were focused on hiring a younger pastor because it was time for them to pass the baton on to remain relevant. And that is one thing we have to always be willing to do. God will raise up new leaders in our midst. Are we the type of people that will be territorial and not let them lead and stifle them? Or will we be the type of people that will empower those who God has called? Are we the type of people who will be unchanging, or will we keep changing methods, while not compromising the gospel, so that we remain relevant to the culture around us?