A Word from the Eastern Regional Conference

The mission statement for the ERC reads, “The ERC exists to multiply healthy, life-giving churches led by healthy, life-giving pastors and served by healthy, life-giving regional leadership.”  The statement begs the question, “What does a life-giving church look like?”  It would be fair to say it contains multiple aspects, and I cannot detail them all in one article or even in four parts.  Hopefully, however, through these writings, you’ll see the framework for a life-giving congregation.

I believe a life-giving church needs to equip people, reach people, care for people and have effective systems in place for the benefit of God’s kingdom and for His glory.  Worship dependent upon the Holy Spirit must flow through every part of the congregation.  And two over-arching factors must be in place, or there will never be life.

Let’s begin with the over-arching pieces.  To the church at Corinth, Paul writes, “For we are God’s fellow workers, you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it.  But each one should be careful how he builds.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (3:9-11) At the foundation of the church is the fact that Jesus is Lord.  Paul says we do not preach ourselves but Jesus as Lord (2 Cor. 4:5) and, “no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Cor. 12:3)  At the core of our faith is the declaration that Jesus is Lord.  The only life we can give away is life found in the declaration that Jesus is Lord.  It is only through this declaration that a person gains new life.  This is the basis for all else.

The other over-arching portion of the church mirrors the Jerusalem church’s “devotion to the apostles’ teaching.” (Acts 2:42) Our devotion to the Word of God as our only rule of faith and practice protects us from all that would rot, soil and stain the gospel proclamation.  This “roof” covering the building must be about presenting God’s grace and truth (John 1:14).  The words of God are not used as a hammer to beat people into submission, nor dare it be watered down in an attempt to appease people.

Unless we build on the sure foundation of Jesus as Lord, we will labor in vain.  We protect the body from false teachings that ruin its witness by making sure we adhere to God’s grace and truth as found [in] the Word of God.  These two factors must be at the forefront, or it will not matter what the inside of the building looks. like.

My prayer for us in the new year is that we will seek to be a life-giving church.  Please join me in praying for the health of Yocumtown Church of God, for the leadership, and for the people God has called to be a part of our church family.

Have a Blessed New Year!

Pastor Stef

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