Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Connecting People

The church I am currently serving as an Interim Pastor has a central ministry focus of connecting people around the Word. Let me reflect, for a time, on those first two words: Connecting people. Why connecting people? Why not reaching people, training people, equipping people, or some other verb describing what we want to accomplish? There are at least three biblical reasons why we chose the phrase “connecting people.”

First, community reflects the nature of God. God is, by his very nature, community. He is one God, one essence, but three persons. The Trinity was involved in creation. God, the Father, said, “Let there be. . .” (Gen 1:3) and there was. God, the Spirit, “was hovering over the face of the waters” in creation (Gen 1:2). John 1:3 says of God, the Son, “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” Yet Jesus prayed in John 17:5 “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” There is a mystery in the Trinity that is beyond human comprehension. There is but one God, yet God is, by his very nature, communal. Connecting people, community, reflects the nature of God.

Second, community reflects the nature of humanity. We were not designed to go it alone. When God created Adam “the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone’” (Gen 2:18). Rarely in the Scriptures do you find God using people apart from community. The disciples were almost always together. Moses had Aaron. Abraham had Sarah and a large contingent of servants. Joseph pined for his family even after his brothers sold him into slavery. Elijah had Elisha. Daniel had his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. If this Covid-19 isolation has taught us nothing else, it has highlighted the yearning in people’s hearts for community. Connecting people reflects the nature of God and humanity.

Third, connecting people reflects the nature of all creation. Psalms 19:1 asserts, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Genesis one and two remind us that all creation was designed and brought into existence by God. In his design, he created a world that is interdependent. From the human body to global weather systems, from flora to fauna, from ocean to desert all of creation is interconnected. Destroy the bees and crops fail because they don’t get pollinized. Wipe out the rain forests and the whole world is affected because the trees are not producing enough oxygen or removing enough CO2. All of creation is interconnected.

Our central ministry focus is connecting people around the Word. Why connecting people? Because it reflects the nature of God, the nature of humanity, and the nature of all creation. We were designed for connection. We don’t just want to reach people. We don’t just want to evangelize people. We don’t just want to train or equip people. We want to do those things in and through connection and community, and that is as it should be. Don’t try and go it alone. Church is about community. Who are you connected to?

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