If you have been with us regularly over the last few months you may have started to pick up on a pattern in the way we end our services.
We end our services with what we call a “sending.” We call it that because we see the end of our service as the beginning of your week of living out your faith—we are being sent to go live out the truth we just sang and heard.
Sometimes the sending is a reflection on the sermon we just heard, sometimes it is a benediction from Scripture (like the priestly blessing from Numbers 6), and sometimes it is what we call our sending. Our sending is something we wrote as a staff that we feel captures God’s heart for our church.
So, as the words of our sending are hopefully becoming familiar to you, I wanted to take a few minutes to share the heart behind them.
I will break our sending down into a few chunks and add some commentary on each chunk. Here’s the first part:
We have been motivated by the love God has shown us in Christ.
We have been united in our worship of the living God together.
We have been encouraged by our fellowship with one another.
And We have been equipped by the preaching of God’s Word.
These lines get at what we see as the purpose of our Sunday morning services. Our services are designed so that we would be a church that is motivated, united, encouraged, and equipped.
Motivated to love God and others because He first loved us. United as one body, worshiping the one true God together. Encouraged to persevere and grow by sharing life with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. And equipped to apply the Truth in our own lives, as well as to minister to those around us.
It is our prayer that by gathering together for an hour (or so) on Sunday, we would all be better equipped to go be a gospel witness for the other 167 hours of the week.
Now, go in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the power in you each and every day. Isn’t that kind of crazy to think about?! But it’s true: “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you,” (Romans 8:11).
So, think about what that means for you: you do not have to wonder if you said the right thing when your coworker asked about your faith—it’s the Spirit’s job to change hearts. You do not have to rely on your own strength to get through the pain of heartache—the Spirit gives you strength. You can lean into the Spirit’s leading and trust Him to do the work only He can do.
In all that you do, love God boldly.
In whatever neighborhood, whatever workplace, whatever school God has placed you, love people sacrificially.
In whatever stage of life you find yourself, look for opportunities to faithfully lead others to do the same.
This is our purpose as a church: to love God, love people, and lead others to do the same. This purpose is something that can permeate all aspects of your life, no matter where you are or what season of life you are in.
We believe God has you in your specific neighborhood, your specific job, your specific school because you are part of His plan for reaching that neighborhood/workplace/school with the gospel.
We also believe that whether you have been a Christian for ages or your faith is just blossoming, there is someone you can learn from and someone who can learn from you about loving God and loving people. Be diligently seeking out those people, and make the most of the opportunities you get.
YOU are the church. Now go BE the church.
The church is not a building; the church is a people. It can be tempting to think it is the church’s job to teach people about God, or it is the church’s job to visit the vulnerable in their affliction. But remember: you are the church. So, yeah, it’s “the church’s job”—but that means it’s your job… it’s our job.
We won’t always end our service with these words, but we will frequently because we believe they echo God’s heart specifically for our church—for you. It is our prayer that hearing this sending gives you a more clear understanding of how God is calling you to be part of what He is doing in and through Grace Community Church.
I love you, church!