Photo by Tyler Nix / Unsplash

In order to explain the function of and relationships within a church, the Bible compares it to more than a dozen different things: a body, a temple, even a candlestick. Lately, especially since we've been apart for so long, I’ve been reminded how the church looks and acts like a family. Consider the functions (and dysfunctions) of your own family as you think about your role in God’s family at church:

A family celebrates together
We love to party! Families celebrate birthdays, graduations, and weddings–our photo albums chronicle the big occasions we share with the people we love most. Church families celebrate big moments together, too. Baptism and Easter Sunday are big celebrations that are right around the corner, but we can celebrate God’s goodness every week through worship.

A family mourns together
Bad things happen, even to people who love God. Those moments are painful reminders that we are temporary residents in an imperfect world. As bleak as our darkest days may be, they are made slightly more bearable when we are able to lean on our spiritual family for support. I’ve lost count of the number of times people have told me how thankful they were for the care they received from their community group during a difficult season of life.

Family members spend time with each other
I can’t imagine how messed up my relationship with my son would be if we never spent any time with each other. That kid makes me laugh and makes me think–I don’t want to miss a moment! The writer of Hebrews cautioned against the dysfunction of isolation in our spiritual family. It is when we are together that we can encourage and learn from each other.

Family members work together
In my family, there are certain tasks for which I am responsible. My wife and kids also have responsibilities around the house. Since I am a member of God’s family, I am accountable for my efforts to advance God’s Kingdom. Biblical Christianity is not for the lazy or self-indulgent. Where are you serving?

With a nod to Sister Sledge, we are family. There are likely some similarities to your family. We might have the crazy uncle whose social filter doesn't work as well as it should and the cousin who is quick to blame everyone else for messes she creates, but we’re working to love each other while we’re making room for more seats at the table.

Ephesians 2:17-19 “When the Messiah came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household” (HCSB, emphasis added).

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