What a Life-Giving Church Will Do
By Jerry Stone
When a life-giving church is established in a community, lives are transformed, families are strengthened, communities are enhanced and the world is impacted. Planting, establishing and growing healthy local churches are not ideas that originated with a man or woman. The local church is a concept that began with God, a concept that His presence would not be confined to buildings or a tabernacle, but that His Spirit would fill the hearts of men and women both individually and collectively. The local church is a gathering where we have God-encounters, a meeting place that has been made possible because Jesus paid our ransom, defeated Satan, positioned us in union with God and gave us authority and empowerment to take dominion in His name.
A life-giving church is to be an expression of Christ. We should endeavor to know Him as He truly is and accurately display His character so that He can be known. We should strive to experience His glory so that His power can bring the changes that people need. I want to share with you some of the things that a life-giving church will do.
A Life-Giving Church Will Facilitate Heart Transformations
God is the only one who can transform a heart. We know that we cannot change the nature of a man or woman, but we know that God can. We recognize our role is to connect people with God. People need to have God-experiences. God, through the Holy Spirit, will do the rest.
God wants us to recognize that a church is not our house; it’s His house. God wants churches that will honor Him in His house, not to take it over and do as we please, but to show respect to what He wants done there. When He is honored, He can move in the hearts of people that we never can. He can take a sinful heart, make it new and give it life. God can take a heart filled with carnal desires, and change it so that it is filled with His desires. God can turn a selfish heart into a generous one, a mean heart into a loving one, a reckless heart into a caring one, a bound heart into a free one, a broken heart into a mended one. Only God can change a heart, and a life-giving church will not only be open to allow God to move, but will actively pursue His presence.
Individual lives will be transformed, bringing positive change to families and communities. When an addict is freed from their addiction, it brings positive change. When criminals find rehabilitation, it brings positive change. When the poor have their needs met, it brings positive change. When the sick are healed, it brings positive change. When marriages are restored, it brings positive change. When families are strengthened, it brings positive change.
A Life-Giving Church Will Encourage Connection
God wants us to connect with Him, and He wants us to connect with one another. The interaction between believers is to be life-giving. How we relate to one another should reflect the love God has placed in our hearts. It should confirm the significance that God places on a human life. It should convey the mercy and grace that God has extended to each of us. The relationships that we cannot replace the relationship that we have with God, but they have been designed by God to bring us strength and support, joy and fellowship, prayer and encouragement. The relationships that we share in a life-giving church should show the world that we belong to Christ, pointing the way to want to know Him and to be a part of God's family.
A Life-Giving Church Will Serve in Love
A local church that represents God will serve inside the church and outside the church. We serve God, we serve one another, and we serve the world. We are filled with God’s love, a love that compels us to action. When we see a need, we collectively try to meet that need. When others see our love in action, it demonstrates who God is, and it draws people to Him. When people see the love in our serve, it demonstrates caring relationships, and it draws people to belong to a life-giving church. All that we do as local churches should be done because of the life God has given to us, life that we live in serving others.
Life-giving churches facilitate heart transformations, encourage connection, and serve in love. Life-giving churches cause change to happen in lives, in families, in marriages, in the workplace, in friendships, in neighborhoods, in communities and the world. If you are in a life-giving church, then share that life with others. If you are not in a life-giving church, get into one. If there is no life-giving church in your area, pray about getting involved in starting one. Together our churches make up the kingdom of God, with Jesus as our Lord, sharing life with others around us. Let’s work together until He comes back to reign as our King!