Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
Those of us who attend church regularly and who participate actively in the fellowship and ministry of a local congregation stand in a great line of believers stretching back 2,000 years. Even a newly planted church has roots reaching back to the beginning, back to that first generation of believers like Paul, Timothy and the Colossians. They spoke a different language, played different music and likely followed a different style of worship and ministry than churches today, but throughout time and across the world, Christ-honoring churches have all shared certain important things in common. These essential, enduring aspects of church life have been passed down to our generation through the words of scripture, including these verses that paint a beautiful picture of life together in the Body of Christ.
Any church would do well to follow the recipe for fellowship, ministry and worship found here. Begin with the peace of Christ, that unwavering assurance of God’s power and love in the lives of believers. Jesus gives us peace and calls us to live at peace with one another so the church body will remain united in fellowship and ministry. Next add thankful hearts that know the abundant blessings of God’s grace. Then focus on sharing, teaching and feeding on the message of Christ. The Gospel is our mission and the central truth of our lives. We encourage one another with Jesus’ teaching and joyfully share his message of salvation with those outside the church. To all that, we add heartfelt worship through scripture and song. Led by the Spirit, we praise God with gratitude in the name of Jesus.
There are no perfect churches, but there are many churches that do their best to follow this recipe for life and ministry. How each church puts these words into practice will be unique to their cultural context and the gifts of their members. We should rejoice in the diversity of the Church, while also holding ourselves and the church we attend accountable to maintaining this Biblical pattern of ministry. What a joy it is to witness God’s work in and through his people and to hear the church proclaim the message of Christ to a world in need.
Father, thank You for the church. Thank you for my sisters and brothers in Christ who walk alongside me. Help me to live at peace with them, to encourage their faith and to worship You joyfully with fellow believers. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian