This week’s devotionals are are inspired by our recent New Ground Sunday. To find out more about our family of churches, please go to:
Summary: Churches are to be led by God, which is worked out by following a team of elders which is overseen by an apostle and his team.
To watch this devotional, please go to:
‘They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.’ (2 Corinthians 8:5)
During this week, our devotions are inspired out of our ‘New Ground Sunday’. Community Church Putney is in New Ground. New Ground is a ‘sphere’ (a smaller related group of churches) within Newfrontiers. It’s not unusual for large organisations to be broken down into smaller sub-sections with managers of those more manageable groups. However, in Newfrontiers, each of those subsection (or spheres) are led by a man with the gift of the apostle. The gift of the apostle does not mean that these men can update or override the Bible, rather, apostles help church to be built on biblical foundations and remain on mission. Paul speaks of this gift and, it seems to me, all the while the body needs building, this gift remains in operation:
‘So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up’ (Ephesians 4:11-12)
Too often, churches are overseen by people who would be good managers - they would make a good head teacher or be a good manger of supermarkets but they are not spiritually gifted. However, the leadership and oversight of church requires a gift of the Spirit and not just skill or ambition. I experienced and example of management over leadership recently when I received a questionnaire about our views on certain moral issues around marriage, sex and gender. Too often churches are led by efficient and democratic people who are not gifted to lay biblical foundations as the gift of the apostle helps to do.
In our brief reading today, I just want us to notice that Christians and churches are to give themselves in 2 ways: firstly, to the Lord and, secondly, to ‘us’ - the leaders and overseers of churches that we trust. Now, you may not use the term ‘apostle’ but every church needs to be accountable, encouraged and challenged by trusted overseers who are not in your church - this is the Biblical mode is it not? If you are in a church that is overseen by people who do not want to keep you faithful to a biblical foundation you are in trouble!
Churches are to be led by God, which is worked out by following a team of elders which is overseen by an apostle and his team.
Firstly, we are to be led by God; have we given ourselves to the Lord? Is He our Saviour and King? Are our lives and churches seeking to apply His word?
Secondly, have we given ourselves to the godly overseers of our churches? If you are in New Ground, let’s seek to pray for and receive the ministry of Dave Holden and his team.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Firstly, let’s watch this message from Jim partridges together:
Please read 2 Corinthians 8:1-9 again.
What particularly struck you from Jim's message?
What 2 relationships are we urged to give ourselves to and how is this being worked out in our lives and church?
SIV - How does working with New Ground help us to fufill The Great Commission?
SIV - How could you serve, invest and invite this week and let’s pray about this.
Prayer - How would you like prayer as a result of today’s study?