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Leading people to be the church not just come to church

Serve_Day

Today was one of those moments that most pastors dream about. Today at Cornerstone almost 3,000 people got a taste of what it felt like to live an others oriented life. We conducted abbreviated services and sent people out all over to serve our local city by cleaning up parks, doing landscaping for the city, hanging door hangers for Iglesia Vida a Hispanic church that has been meeting on our campus that is launching in our community, and packing over 140,000 meals with Stop Hunger Now that will be on the ground and distributed in Haiti in 3 weeks by Food for the Hungry Today was one of those moments where people didn’t just come to church; today the people of Cornerstone took a step towards being the church. I was humbled and thrilled to serve along side the people of Cornerstone today and proud to have the honor to be on Staff here. We took a real step towards maturity together today.

This was one of those moments that reminded me of how the average person who doesn’t know Jesus could care less about if we are orthodox in our theology, have strong air tight arguments for our convictions, or even if we’re right in our views. Because people aren’t impressed by what we say we believe, but by how we live our lives. And what they’re waiting for is to see if there is a church that is actually willing to put their money where their mouth is. A church full of people who don’t just speak in a self righteous lingo about receiving the forgiveness of Christ, but learn to live out and offer it to others. A church that isn’t going to just talk about Jesus but be like Him, and put the needs of others before their own. They want to know does following Jesus make any real tangible difference in our lives and they want us to show that difference by they way that we live. And I must confess it’s a pretty good request. So let me remind us of a passage of scripture that we’re all probably a little too familiar with.

Ephesians 4:11-13

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.”

In this passage, among other things, the Apostle Paul directly links maturity to doing the work of the ministry. Now while I don’t believe that serving necessarily makes you and I mature, it’s impossible for us to be mature without it. And if people who don’t know our Jesus are waiting to see a church that is radically committed to living out what they say they believe then churches are waiting for someone to lead them to a life of sacrifice and service. So if you and I are serious about leading the church toward maturity, we’ll be leading our people to live others oriented lives. You see the church doesn’t exist for us, we are the church, and we exist for people who have not yet met our Jesus.

So the idea of shutting church down for a Sunday and serving your community may be better stated as actually finally opening your church up. And who knows, it might just be the best sermon you’ll ever preach.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Volunteers

2 Responses to “Leading people to be the church not just come to church”

  1. Tom March 8, 2010 at 4:40 am #

    Paul, that’s awesome! So cool to see your church serving your community like that. Are you guys planning on doing this on a regular basis?

  2. paul alexander March 8, 2010 at 5:17 am #

    We do “2nd Saturday” (got the idea from Granger) where the second Saturday of each month we mobilize all over the community to serve the city, local para-church ministries, and the needs of the body here at Cornerstone. It’s really cool!

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