In thinking and talking about God’s unfolding plan, we don’t necessarily think about the purpose of the “Body of Christ.” This is mentioned in terms of a family, a community, but not in terms of purpose and strategy. We all have our own talents and abilities. Churches big and small, have as many varieties of ministries as there are cultures. Each church, each individual has their own calling. Each is part of the “Body of Christ”.
Many different types of churches to suit all tastes
We tend to flock together, so there are different churches, with different theological slants and different cultures. It’s all the same family. I mention this because I really do enjoy the differences. It is not necessary for me to agree or disagree with the variations of belief, or the order of service, the music that is played, or whether it is a highly ritualistic presentation, or just a simple sharing of the Gospel.
It’s all good, because it’s all for God. A recent visit to a Charismatic Episcopalian church really brought this out. I was raised as an Episcopalian, confirmed in the church, but this church had no resemblance to the church I attended as a young child and teenager. The difference was it was uplifting, encouraging and vibrant. The Gospel was shared in a loving and inviting way. It’s a small church, but it has its mission. The priest is great. He’s a warm, personable man, who has a deep and abiding love for God.
Paul planted MANY churches in many different cultures
The Apostle Paul planted many churches, across cultural and racial barriers. He knew the advantage of bringing in as many diverse peoples as possible. He implores us to actively participate in the ministry of Christ, and encourages us to take that calling seriously.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
While it is true that we are all individuals, our calling to community is equally as important. On a personal level, we died from sin and were therefore in urgent need of a savior. Through His sacrifice, we are set free and brought into the fold.
So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. (Romans 7:4)
Every time a believer takes communion, they are reminded of that calling. God has made us a part of His family, and because of that, each individual is essential to the work of the body, equipped with talents and abilities given by God for His purpose.
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? (1 Corinthians 10:16)
What we are called to do we are equipped to do. Each with their own skills, each with their own inclinations. God uses individuality to advance the cause, to reach as many people as possible.
… to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up Ephesians 4:12
How many ways are there to communicate God’s plan of salvation? So many languages, so many customs. People hear things differently depending on nationality, ethnicity and on an even smaller level, individual community values. Breaking through the culture to create the body of Christ for the glory of God the Father is an on-going process, which will not be completed until the day of Christ Jesus.