Spiritual Gifts 13

"...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 express purpose of the members of the body and their gifts is the building up and edification of the body. As the early church model reveals this takes place on two fronts. The first is what this passage deals most extensively with, the spiritual growth and maturity of the body. The second which is revealed by the early church model and is dealt with more extensively in Paul's writings elsewhere is numerical growth of the body. Scripture's call to grow up in Christ and that to grow His kingdom go hand in hand.

The great commission of sharing God's love with a lost and dying world is the banner under which the soldiers of the Lord march. It is what keeps us in step and unified in purpose. When the focus of any church deviates from its biblical purpose, the saving of souls, its unity suffers. 

Spiritual growth and maturity of believers, what we like to call qualitative growth is inseparably tied to the fulfilling of the great commission, what we could refer to as quantitative growth. While it is indeed possible to grow in quantity without growing in quality, it is impossible to grow in quality without growing in quantity. 

The more Christ's love is manifested by our family the greater our ability to attract lost and hungry people will be. God's Word tells us that ultimately Christians are known by their love, and while the rest of the world's love grows cold, our love will become a white hot beacon for all those seeking the truth. 

The Buford Family is a place which is known by its love, both inside and outside the walls of the church. As a result it has become a place where hungry people come. Our family is ever growing in maturity and love, yet our current facilities are limiting the number of individuals who can benefit from this qualitative growth. What will we do to address this challenge? To remain faithful to our core values and purpose of existence we can not afford to do nothing. 

The Lord in his infinite wisdom is prepared to lead us if we are prepared to follow. Establishing a more adequate base for ministry which would accommodate our current rate of growth is one solution, but other possibilities exist. Is the Lord calling a sizable piece of the Buford family to relocate and establish a new church in a needy location at this time? This is one way of expanding the gospel's reach elsewhere as well as opening the door for continued growth on the home front. If some feel strongly that this is the solution, is it because the Lord is laying this burden on their heart personally? Does the Lord see the most immediate step to address growth as developing a second service at our current location as we look into other longer term solutions? There are multiple ways to move forward, but apart from prayer, humility, and timely unified action, God's kingdom will suffer. 

My appeal this morning is that we all seek the Lord for wisdom and direction as our family prepares to continue expanding God's kingdom in whatever way the Lord sees fit. May our voices be exercised not only in caution but also in attempting to be part of a genuine solution. The enemy of our souls wants nothing more than to undermine the momentum God's kingdom has gained in our church. I know it is the desire of every last member of our family to see as many souls impacted for eternity as possible, so let us hit our knees in humble willingness to be directed wherever they Lord would have us move at this time.

Still Seeking His Face,

Pastor Andrew

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