What Does the Church Need to Know? It Is Time to Represent!
By Rev. Angela Ravin-Anderson
Often, we as leaders spend a lot of time and mental energy musing over how to make the church relevant. Relevance though is rooted in what matters, what is pertinent, and what is important in life. When we examine the world around us, what is relevant has not changed a whole lot since the days when Jesus walked the earth. People, then and now, need to know they are loved. They need to have a place of connection where they will be embraced in the uniqueness within which God has created them. People, then and now, need to feel compassion and to know that someone sees and cares about their situation. People are searching for meaning and purpose. They are trying to understand their place in this universe.
As the church, then, we are called to demonstrate and to be a witness that knowing God can make a difference in one’s life. We are the present-day heralds of Jubilee because we know and have experienced the favor of the Lord in our own lives. It is still good news that God is in control when the world seems to be spinning out of control. We must share and tell our stories of what God is doing in our lives, that He is still active, and that He is still doing marvelous things. In the midst of believers, God’s compassion should be experienced. Those who encounter us should walk away knowing that they have encountered God’s love. The Body of Christ is a witness for the world of how to value the contribution and gifts of all. Each is welcomed and has purpose and value.
Simply put, our relevance comes with our ability to represent. We, who are stamped with the image of our Creator and indwelled with His Holy Spirit, are to represent His unfailing love to all. We, who are adopted into the Holy family and are now heirs with our Savior, Jesus Christ, must represent divine hospitality as we welcome the looked-over and turned-aside. Each of us, who has been called and predestined to share in God’s ministry of reconciliation, must represent the justice of the Lord as we stand for those who are oppressed and without a voice. Through Christ we are unified even in the midst of our diversity. We, who are the royal priesthood and the living sacrifice, must represent His mercy for those who need forgiveness and God’s all-sufficient grace as we serve those in need. Yes, we must represent the joy and privilege of living in the Kingdom of God! For it is still relevant that Christ reigns!