Dear Immanuel family,
When you read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, you see how Jesus had great popularity with the crowds while the people were being healed and feed. These authenticating works brought the good news to many. However, as Jesus pointed out in the Parable of the Sower, true repentance and lasting fruit didn’t always result. Later in his ministry when he felt the rejection of the religious leaders and the crowds he began to focus solely on teaching those close to him. In Matthew 16 Jesus said, “I will build my church….” We too participate with the King of Kings and are so glad we are that Jesus said He will build his church. This group of redeemed people, which includes us, who accept Jesus by faith alone, will spend eternity praising God.
Did you know that we are God the Father’s gift to his Son. How special we are. In the Jesus’ prayer in John 17 he put it this way, “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.” Jesus wants as many of us to be with him in heaven as possible. He wants the Body of Christ to do the best job it can in making sure everyone has a chance to hear the gospel.
Earlier in the week I made a call to our church’s phone company and today I received an email asking me to rate their service. I know we would never think of taking a survey like this in church, but there are people who study how to best build a healthy church. One such study was done by NCD and I thought some of you might want to read their summary (http://www.nabconference.org/sites/default/files/files/resources/NCDSummary2004.pdf They studied a 1000 churches in 32 countries and came up with 8 essential quality characteristics. They are 1) Empowering Leadership, 2) Gift-oriented Ministry, 3) Passionate Spirituality, 4) Functional Structures, 5) Inspiring Worship Service, 6) Holistic Small Groups, 7) Need-oriented Evangelism, and 8) Loving Relationships.
One of these qualities of our church that I appreciate so much are the SOMA small groups. We can’t wait until they start up again. If you haven’t been a part of a SOMA group, please consider it. They start up again on September 14th. Did you know that there is a church in South Korea that has 830,000 members? Hard to believe but an integral part of the church are the small groups that meet in homes. Our small groups are important for our church too. Let’s all be co-laborers with Christ as He builds His church.