Continuing the work of Jesus

On Being the Church

The adult Sunday School class spent six weeks in the fall using the study guide called, Together: Conversations on Being the Church. Discussion focused on what it means to be the church now. Questions were asked and participants talked about matters such as belonging, working together, living with differences, the place of discipline, models of church, etc. At the end of the study, two different group paragraphs were written and submitted to the denomination reflecting our class' answers to two questions. The questions are: "What are God's yearnings for the Church of the Brethren? and What do we need to do to become more like the church God yearns for us to be?" The two statements are shared here.

As the church, we are called to be Christ's disciples and to witness to the inclusive love and grace Jesus exemplified. Professing salvation through God's bounteous grace and the gift of his son, Jesus Christ, we also profess our responsibility to minister to others. The foundations of being the church call us to relate to fellow believers as family, yet we also recognize our calling to do God's work to the ends of the earth, modeling Christ's example of love and peace. While the church's focus for purpose and inspiration is on Jesus, the church must be willing to adapt in its understandings as led by the Holy Spirit, recognizing that God's revelation is ongoing and our striving to spiritual maturity is a work never finished.

As the Church of the Brethren, we celebrate our heritage of peculiarity, which includes openness to all, dedication to peace, willingness to work at communal discernment led by the Holy Spirit through Scripture, commitment to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, and a spirit of joyfully living in tension with dominant culture. God yearns for us to be more confident in our witness, more assertive about our gifts as a church, more willing to lead ecumenically, and more faithful to Jesus as our Savior and Lord.

These two statements were prepared on Sunday, October 29. Thanks to all in the S. S. class who shared in the conversation which led to the above comments.