What does the Community of Tillsonburg Need?
Recently as a church we have been looking at this question which is rooted in Christ’s call to serve. (Matthew 20:28). Somehow it seems as if “church” has become more about having our needs met (being served) as opposed to meeting the needs of others.
Christians speak in terms of “my church” and debate personal preferences in music, preaching, children’s and youth ministries, CARE groups and so on…
What would it look like if we were to truly take Jesus as our Master… to take His motto as our own… His example as our model… What would happen if our church truly existed not to be served but to serve… and not to “serve” only people like us… other believers… but to serve the community around us?
For the past two years the national leadership of our denomination has been working on developing a guide to help the denomination, the districts and church families in discerning God’s voice in the midst of decision making.
The process they have developed is rooted in three key principles:
- Open heart
- Open Bible
- Open Hands
Open Hands, the first, and perhaps most crucial step is very difficult. It calls us to submit our will… to surrender. Don’t get me wrong, submitting to God is relatively easy (we tend to “hear” Him saying exactly what we expect or want to hear). The challenge comes because submission to God almost always demands that we submit to each other.
Jesus model of surrender is best seen in what we have come to call, “His Garden Prayer” found in Matthew’s Gospel
Matthew 26:39 (ESV) And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
What we often miss is that, for Jesus, surrendering to the Father’s will meant submitting to the Roman whip… submitting to the insults, the beating, the spitting, the cross.
I wonder if we have not taken “submitting to God” to mean “Everyone must now listen to me and do as I say!” As opposed to it’s true meaning, “Not my will…”
As we face the call, the challenge, to be Christ in and to the community of Tillsonburg are we willing to submit our wills not just to God but to each other?