Monday, July 4, 2011

13 Characteristics of a Growing Church: Devoted

As the phone rang for the fifteenth million time today, I groaned and reached for the receiver. I don't know about you but my family is pretty messed up, and I don't always jump at the opportunity to be sucked into that drama. However, they are still my family and they will always be my family. No matter where we are or what we have done or not done in our lives, we will always have one another. I thought about that today as I picked up that phone to talk to my dad, and it goes along perfectly with the characteristic of a growing church that we will be talking about today.

So here's a quick recap of the Characteristics of a Growing Church:
1st Love Genuinely
2nd Hate What is Evil
3rd Cling to What is Good

The 4th characteristic of a growing is Church is Devotion.
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love;" Romans 12:10a NASB

So what does it mean to be devoted? According to devotion is defined as "zealous or ardent in attachment, loyalty, or affection." When you are devoted to something or someone you are zealous (passionate) about it/them. You won't easily let it/them go. You cling to it/them like family.

I know that some families aren't like this, but in my family there was never anything that you could do to be kicked out. That's what a growing church is like. We should cling to one another like family. That doesn't mean letting everyone get away with everything or to continue sinning. What it does mean that as a family we should confront those sins and help our brothers and sisters turn from those things in their lives. Why not minister to the one who is struggling with their sins and addictions instead of shunning them because they aren't as righteous or holy as we see ourselves to be?

In families we see the good, the bad, and the really, really ugly in our family members. Still we love one another. Still we accept one another. Why can't our churches be like that? Why do we shun the young mother who had sex outside of marriage even after she has repented of her sin? Why do we treat people that honestly want help overcoming their porn addictions like they are lepers instead of offering love and healing?

That's not how Jesus operated. He didn't shun people. He didn't act better than them. He went to them and accepted them as children of God. He showed them unconditional love and healing. He turned them from their sins by welcoming them into HIS family. A growing church is a family.

We are the family of God.

Isn't it time that we started acting like it?

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