One of the reasons Jesus established His Body on earth as local communities of disciples is so we would have opportunity to develop our God-given gifts and help one another develop theirs. The local church is an essential part of God’s plan to save the world through Christ. Jesus built it “…to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ep 4:12-13).
Our participation in the local church is a critical part of God’s plan for our lives. As we involve ourselves in the life of the community we grow and stimulate others to do so. The goal of that growth is Christlikeness. “…we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (4:15b-16). To say that church participation isn’t a crucial part of salvation, is to contradict the work of Jesus.
One of the efforts underway to help hone our Bible teaching skills is the study group pictured here. Eleven of us (three not pictured) participate in this Bible teachers training class begun in January. We are studying the Book of Luke together and taking turns teaching it to the adult Bible school class. It is encouraging to see these brothers taking time from other good activities in their lives to nurture one another in their development in the faith. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Pr 27:17).