From [Jesus] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. – Ephesians 4:16
It’s interesting how my writing seems to have fallen into a pattern, reflecting what I am learning from day to day and how insight comes so clearly through the messages, classes, and small groups at WFPC.
This is why declarations like, “I’m spiritual but I don’t believe in organized religion” simply do not add up. Or, “I’m all about Jesus, but going to church doesn’t do anything for me.” Or, “I believe in God but I would rather worship in nature than deal with the hypocrisy of Christianity.”
To be clear, I really do understand all of that and where it comes from. In fact, the question, “Have you led anyone to faith in Jesus?” has an important counterpart: “How many people has your idea of “Christianity” shut off from the kingdom and turned away from God?”
Jesus put it this way, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces” (Matthew 23).
So yes, I get why people sometimes stay away from church. But regardless of its imperfections, The Body of Christ is still the absolute best way that we can effectively “do” Christianity. It is because of church that I am exposed to so much in the way of inspiration, and encouragement, and teaching, and generosity, and accountability, and good news and opportunity to serve.
The Church is the place where we have the opportunity to not only immerse ourselves in the teachings of Jesus but put them into practice too.
Not only that, but we were created exactly for the purpose of experiencing community, and The Church is the expression of God and God’s proactive love on which Jesus intended to build the plan of redemption.
So I acknowledge – and celebrate – that I have very little wisdom to share with you that is not a direct result of my experience of doing faith in the context of The Church. The particular church where I do this is Wake Forest Presbyterian, and I am deeply grateful for this part of the Body of Christ.
This was exactly my experience yesterday evening at the men’s Bible study, after enjoying fellowship around the table with the Wednesday evening church dinner crowd. The scriptures come alive when we study them in the context of community.
We need each other. Especially when we intend to follow Jesus – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.