In Sunday school this past week we started in on the last chapter of our study through 1 Corinthians. Here we read,
“Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me.” (1 Corinthians 16:1–4 ESV)
We discussed a number of insights this passages gives us concerning the use of our money, the importance of giving God the firstfruits of all he has blessed us with, and the relationship of giving and worship. One thing in particular that stuck out to us as we read about the Corinthian church giving to the needs of the Jerusalem church was how this call fit in with the whole message of 1 Corinthians about unity in Christ.
We as a congregation of believers at West Oaks have a desire to be unified around Jesus and his gospel message. Sometimes, however, we can become self-focused. We forget to look outward, either to other believers and churches outside of our fellowship that we can help or encourage, or to the unbelievers outside our door who need to hear the gospel. The thing about turning our attention out is that, ironically, this service together in the gospel can actually bring more unity than just hanging out together with no outward orientation.
We had a fun taste of this sort of ministry yesterday at the Howdy Cookout. We had the opportunity to minister to the new students at Texas A&M, handing out Bibles and tracts, and sharing the gospel. We met believers who are just coming into town and looking for places to fellowship. We worked alonside believers from other churches in the B/CS area. We also spoke to many who had no knowledge of the gospel. It was a blessing to those we served and to us who served.
We'd like to do more ministry together as a church. As such I will be going out with a few others after church (after getting a quick bite to eat) to share door to door in the neighborhood around the church. We'd love this to be a congregational activity with some going and some staying behind to pray (and watch kids). I'm not sure what shape this will take but would love your thoughts and prayers.
Let's continue to talk about how we as a congregation can face outwardly together, serving in the gospel and growing in unity as we do.