“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
Romans 12:4-5 (ESV)
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to go on a short-term mission trip to Piedras Negras, Mexico. After a hard day of pouring concrete, painting walls, and entertaining kids, we were gathered on an outside patio and the leader pointed out that the members of our group had very little in common other than a common love for Christ. Our leader was right. Our group had rich people, poor people, engineers, farmers, athletes, and nerds, but all of us were willing to work outside of our comfort zone because of a shared desire to serve the Lord and see others know Him.
This same dynamic should emerge when the church functions at its best. If we are serious about the mission and purpose that Christ has given us, we should expect to be working elbow-to-elbow with a variety of people using diverse talents to bring Kingdom results to our own community. In 2 Peter 1:5, we are told that we need to “make every effort” to grow in the virtues that ultimately lead to acts of love. In Ephesians 4:3, we are told to “make every effort” to be unified as we move forward with those tasks.
I believe that as the church enters its next phase, God will begin opening our eyes to new challenges and projects that will be used to spread the gospel in this community. These will require a considerable amount of work. In order for us to be ready, we need to be putting as much effort into preparing our hearts for the future as we will be when doing the work that is on the horizon.
In the book Spiritual Leadership, Henry and Bruce Blackaby write, “Spiritual leaders don’t sell vision; they share what God has revealed to them and trust the Holy Spirit to confirm the vision in the hearts of the people.” Just as our church has spent a considerable amount of time looking for its next leader, I believe our next task will be to spend time opening our hearts to what God has prepared for us.