What is the Church? (Part 2)

April 19, 2018

by Erin Bird

Even though I was under 5 foot tall and weighed a whopping 75 pounds sopping wet, I went out for football in 7th grade. My size kept me on the sidelines, only getting to play the "B" game during the 10 minute half-time of the "A" game.

And yet I felt like a winner. Why? Because our "A" team went undefeated. I was at every practice. I cheered my teammates from the sideline at every game. And so even though I saw very limited action, I felt I was a part of our undefeated season.

A Part of Something Bigger

I think all of us long to be a part of something that is "winning." Whether its just being a fan for a sports team, being a member of a club with a welcoming culture, or working for a company that has a lot of momentum, we want to be part of something that is bigger than "just me".

And yet, when it comes to our faith in Jesus and involvement in church, often times we make it a private, personal thing. We don't take about spiritual things, or we only think about spiritual matters for an hour on Sunday mornings.

But that misses the mark of how God sees His Church.

We are in part 2 of our series "What is the Church?" where we are looking at Riverwood's definition of Church. Here's our definition again:

The Church is the redeemed people of God living on mission together under the headship of Jesus to live out the implications of the Gospel.

Last week, we saw that the Church is the redeemed people of God. That means this week we are going to look at the second phrase: "living on mission together."

Three Words

This phrase has three key words:

1. Living

If you follow Jesus, your beliefs aren't to be just something you think about. Your belief in Jesus is to be lived out.

This is why you might hear some Jesus-followers say, "You don't go to church. You ARE the Church! So BE the church!" And being part of God's Church means you live out your faith in Jesus.

2. Mission

But what is it we live out as the redeemed people of God? We live out the mission of God. And what is God's mission? Redeeming broken and imperfect world through the gospel.

I live in the "church world." I follow various pastors on Twitter. I read books aimed at pastors. And so I often hear church experts talk about how a church needs to have a clearly defined mission.

But one time I heard a different sentiment about mission: "God's Church doesn't have a mission. God's mission has a Church!" I love that! If you follow Jesus, then you are part of God's Church, which means you are to be fulfilling this mission of inviting the spiritually disconnected to find and follow Jesus through the gospel.

3. Together

This last word is incredibly important. While we need to live out our faith, accomplishing the mission of God, it was never intended to be done individually. To use a sports analogy, church is not to be a golf team where each player does their own thing. Rather its more like a football team that works together to try to win the game. Each player has their own role, but they work together simultaneously to accomplish their goals.

This is why...

  • Riverwood is aiming to have an elder team by this fall.
  • our Kids Creek team is inviting people to help in our new preschool class.
  • we even invite people to do simple things like greet or usher on Sundays.

If you are part of the Riverwood family, I want to see you involved in some aspect of Riverwood, so you can have the joy of living on mission with your church family, accomplishing the goal God has given us to invite the spiritually disconnected (which includes you and me!) to find and follow Jesus.

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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Riverwood Church, Waverly Iowa

We are on a mission to help people love like Jesus loved and live like Jesus lived.

It doesn't matter to us if you:

  • are a Wartburg student or a grandparent,
  • vote Democrat or Republican,
  • are married, divorced, or single,
  • have gone to church for years or haven't been to church in years,
  • make $100,000/yr. or wonder how you're going to pay rent this month,
  • or fear your past mistakes make you unlovable to God or others.

No matter where you are in your spiritual journey, we want to help you become who God has created you to be.

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