Maybe when you’ve started a new job or a new course of study, you’ve asked the question, ‘What am I doing here?’. Answering that question helps you to not only understand your purpose in that context, but also how to conduct yourself. To be honest, we ask ourselves that question in all sorts of contexts, including at church.
As we begin a new ministry season at the start of the academic year, we want to ask those questions once again, ‘What are we doing here? What’s St Andrew’s all about? What’s our purpose in meeting together?’. We don’t believe that we gather for church merely out of habit or obligation. So, why are you part of this community?
We begin to get an answer when we look at the Book of Acts. This book is all about the proclamation of the gospel and the growth of the early church. At the very start, the risen Jesus says to his disciples, ‘you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8). That verse acts as a kind of contents page for the whole book, as this small group of disciples share the gospel in Jerusalem and beyond. Like a stone thrown into a clear pond, the message of the gospel ripples outwards.
Jesus’ command to his disciples is also his command to us – to be his witnesses, that is, to testify to who he is and what he has done. That’s what we’re all about. We share the gospel to the community around us. But the gospel declared must also be the gospel demonstrated. We show what we believe by living transformed lives. And that shapes everything about our church life together. Christian community is meant to show the watching world the life changing power of the gospel.
That’s why over the coming weeks, we’re going to talk a lot about our community life. We’re going to study Acts 1-7 on Sundays and learn about the life of the early Christians. We’re going to talk about volunteering, small groups, and giving – these marks of belonging at St Andrew’s.
We’re not the finished product, not even close. Being a Christian community is not just about believing the gospel, we’re all supposed to live it out – gospel declaration and gospel demonstration. As we start this new season, please prayerfully consider your part in our community.