Pastor Doug McCoy
First Christian Church Pleasant Hill
Matthew 16:24-25 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life.
I recently took a graduate class on the history and future of The Church. In the very first lectures of this class, the professor gave this definition of The Church: “The Church is a group of people living in covenant community with God and with each other.”
That definition certainly fits The Church as Jesus describes it here. In Matthew 16:24 & 25, Jesus says His “disciples” or “followers” (that is, those in The Church) would not be focused on themselves, on what they need or want or like, but would instead put their shoulders to the cross and give up their lives for His sake. So He, like that professor, described The Church as a place of covenant, the most solemn covenant. He defined being in The Church as being in a state of commitment, the highest commitment.
And so it is. The Church is not a product to consume or a commodity to purchase or a service to use. Being a part of The Church is not being a member, having your name on a roll, going to services, or sitting in a pew. Rather, The Church is a body of committed, covenanted people. Being a part of The Church is making a commitment to God and joining a covenant with fellow believers. This is how that professor defined it. This is how Jesus described it. And this is what it both is and should be. That is what we as The Church both are and should be. So let’s be that; let’s be what we are; let’s be a committed place, a covenanted community.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to live in and keep up our committed, covenant community.