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The Mature Church: Part 1

Maturity is a good parent's desire for every child.  In daily life, maturity means being self-motivated, responsible, and prudent.  It means having the strength of character to put first things first, then living a balanced and positive life.  It means contributing to the greater good, whether in the family, the church, a business, the community, or all of these.

Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, uses the metaphor of the "mature man" to describe what the church needs to be.  In fact, Paul sees the "mature man" --- the mature church --- as the goal of all ministry.  Think about these words:

"And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ."

 

Ministry, then, is designed to equip the saints, not perform for them.  The saints (Christians who are members of Christ's body) are to be active "in the work of service" in order to build up the body of Christ.  They are to do this until...   and the language which follows "until" suggests the end is true Christ-likeness.  Spiritual maturity is being like our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

thematurechurch.jpg Where is AFBC in this process of maturity?  No church has arrived, but every Gospel-proclaiming, Bible-believing church is somewhere in the process of maturing.  Some are moving forward, some sliding back, some are stagnant.  There is no doubt in my mind that AFBC is moving forward right now!

All of my 18 years of pastoral experience have been at AFBC.  This church and I have matured together.  Naturally, some of the church's weaknesses are my weaknesses.  Thankfully, God brings along gifted people to make up for those weaknesses, so we are both pressing on.  In these early newsletter articles, I will be focusing on church health, maturity, and offer my opinion about how we are doing and how we can improve in our goal of attaining "the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ."  Stay tuned!

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Wayne Wilson

Originally printed in the Acton Faith Bible Church Pony Express. Vol. I, No. 01, April 2008.