In the early 1970ís some of us were influenced
by a Bible teacher named Graham Pulkingham.
He taught extensively on ďcommunity" and how it relate to
life in the church. He said
that church should be based around relationships between people, not
around tasks the church organizes.
American church is very task and organizationally orientated.
We are encouraged to be committed to a particular church
organization and participate in its programs that is supported, financed,
and ordained by the church.
said that our commitment is first to Jesus which finds expression in our
commitment to one another. Commitment
as seen in New Testament terms is directed towards those people to whom
Jesus has joined us. As parts
of the Body of Christ, we are joined to a few other individual parts
Ė bone to bone. A
bone in your finger is not joined to every other part of the body, but to
another like bone in your finger. The
joint between these two bones places us in the body and forms the finger.
Membership in an organization does not make us part of the Body of
Christ. Through salvation we
are placed into His body where Jesus then joins us with a few other body
parts. Thus our commitment is
to the people Jesus has joined us to. These relationships are far more
vital than any organization we might belong to.
is important to strengthen the joints we have with one another so the
joints wonít become arthritic. This
is what Pulkingham was getting at. We
need healthy relationships. Only
then can we have a healthy body.
donít stop here. As we care
for our joints, care for our relationships, we should be doing something
in the service of the Lord
with those we are joined to. This
is the nature of joints in a body. Joints
are functional. They do
something. Joints have a
purpose. Joints don't just sit
around and enjoy the scenery.
we determine who we are joined with, we serve Jesus together. This is the
task part of what Pulkingham was speaking about.
First comes the healthy relationships, then comes the tasks at
hand. The tasks donít come
canít stop at the relationship part.
We just canít have a fun time; watch movies and go bowling
together. We have things to do
that will bring healthiness to the body. Together we have work to do in
modern church life I believe we think in terms of organizational structure
more than in terms of a body. Organizationally
speaking, church isnít that
much different than any service group.
Both have a board of directors who hire a few workers, who in turn
find committed volunteers to help run the organization. But,
being joined to an organizational structure and the programs it supports
is not New Testament thinking. We
are joined to people who in turn serve Jesus with us.
Remember, the church should be organic, not merely organizational.
hereís the questions I think we should ask ourselves.
One, am I joined to an organization or to people?
Two, who has Jesus joined me with on a personal level?
Three, how healthy are those relationships?
Four, am I presently doing something in the service of Jesus with
those to whom I'm joined?
questions are important because joints in the Body of Christ have two
purposes. They are both
relational and functional. That
means we are joined together for mutual support and for ministry.
I think weíd do better by thinking in these terms rather than
thinking in terms of being joined to an organization with its varying