CCP | Congregational Life
Christians were never meant to go at it alone. Indeed, to be united to Christ by faith is to be united to one another in him. The Bible everywhere assumes that God’s people live in community. The theology of the sacraments underscores this point–– we are baptized into one body and commune with one another at the Table (c.f. Eph. 4:5; I Cor. 10:17).
God’s Word describes the church as a “body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Eph. 4:16). We need each other to grow. Sanctification doesn’t flourish in isolation. Elsewhere we’re taught that we “are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” Thus, “if one member suffers, all suffer together, if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (I Cor. 12:26-27). This level of support, care, and concern for one another isn’t cultivated in a day. Strong and lasting relationships take time and effort. A church family grows strong when they earnestly pray for one another and invest in each other’s lives in practical ways.
I’d like to encourage you in a couple of matters related to congregational life at Christ Church Presbyterian. The first concerns getting plugged-in to Christ Church and the second is related to our Peru Missions trip.
I am often asked the question, “How can I get plugged-in at Christ Church?” Implicit in the question is a godly desire to cultivate strong relationships with fellow believers. We want all of our members and regular attenders to get plugged-in. But how can you best do that? The first and best way to get plugged-in is to faithfully attend our Lord’s Day worship services and prayer meeting. These assemblies are central to the life, unity, and piety of the congregation. Be intentional about coming a little early and staying a few minutes afterwards. Leave healthy margins to meet new visitors and foster ongoing relationships with others. We provide a refreshment table after the morning service to encourage good fellowship. Arriving late to services and leaving immediately afterward will do little to make you feel connected.
A second way to get plugged-in to the life of the church is through warm and intentional hospitality–– that is, regularly opening your home to members, regular attenders, and visitors of Christ Church for the express purpose of building them up in the Lord. There is something profoundly special about having families into your home and around your table. It serves to strengthen the bonds of love, unity, and Christian affection. Indeed, some of the most memorable and sweetest times of fellowship in my life have taken place around our dinner table in between services on the Lord’s Day. Hospitality is a simple yet powerful way to serve Christ and build up fellow believers in Christ.
But, don’t wait for others to invite you. Take initiative. Are you interested in getting plugged-in with some couples your age? Invite them for lunch. Do you want to get to know some older and wiser members? Invite them over. Do you want to encourage the younger generation? Have them into your home for fellowship or out for coffee during the week and pray for them. This kind of “grass roots” body life is beautiful because it is more organic than programmatic–– motivated by a sincere love for Christ and one another. So let us “show hospitality to one another…” (I Pet. 4:9). Not only is it commanded in Scripture, but it’s a great way to get plugged-in to the body of Christ (c.f. Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:2).
A third way to get plugged-in to Christ Church is to participate in the weekly and regular ministries and activities–– men’s and women’s Bible studies, Ladies in Fellowship Together (L.I.F.T.) gatherings, MUSC & Friends Bible Study, Christ Church fellowship meals, and special events and services throughout the year. Regular attendance to these body life activities strengthens a sense of belonging to the church and connectedness to fellow believers. Make these things a priority in your schedule. Don’t wait for more programs to be created at Christ Church. Get “all in” with what’s happening now, and see how God will bless you and others through you.
Peru Missions Trip
In two weeks Christ Church will send out her inaugural short-term missions team. Nine of us will travel to Lima, Peru from February 18th-27th. We will conduct VBS for approximately 150 children in two different locations–– Perales and Punta Hermosa. We will use an Olympic theme for VBS, since the Summer Olympics are in neighboring Brazil this June. Additionally, Pastor Ross and I will conduct a three day pastor’s conference for 40-50 Peruvian pastors at Lima Seminary. They have assigned the subject of Reformed Worship. Please pray for conversions, encouragement of the Peruvian pastors and congregations, and for the health and safety of the team.
In addition to praying for the trip, you may want to participate by providing school and hygiene supplies for the children. The children that we will be working with are from very poor families. Many of them do not have the basic necessities. We will be collecting the following items over the next two Sundays: toothpaste, flossers, toothbrushes, soap, small bottles of shampoo, pencils, colored pencils, rulers, inexpensive calculators, and any kind of t-shirts for children ages 3-10. Moreover, you may write a check towards the trip. All support will go towards the service and ministries of the Peruvian Church and outreach (Make check out to Christ Church Presbyterian and write “Peru Missions” on the memo line).
Christ Church, let us join our hearts and hands in worship, fellowship, and service to our Lord Jesus. He is worthy. And let us not go at the Christian life alone. Let us not allow lesser things to consume our time and weigh us down (Heb. 12:1-3). Rather, let us abide in Christ and be intentional about loving and encouraging one another. I am confident that from an epicenter of gospel ministry at Christ Church will emerge a powerful gospel witness to the Charleston lowcountry and the world.
Soli Deo Gloria!