By Shannon Youell
It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I had an encounter with God that catapulted me into the adventure of life as a follower of Jesus. With minimal exposure to church to that point (someone did backyard Bible camps in our neighborhood a few times and the occasional visit to a Sunday school on an overnighter with a friend), it took me a number of years and experiences in theological and organizational dynamics to truly understand and value why a congregation benefits from sharing the work of the kingdom with a larger and broader association of the faithful.
Honestly, I didn’t see the merit of denominationalism or associated bodies, until I served for five years in an independent church as worship director and there launched into worship and speaking ministry in a variety of church expressions and associations.
The independent churches I ministered in (including my then home church) were missing the longing and blessing of shared work, resources, continuing education, theological reflection, camps, missions among many other benefits that families of churches have access to.
Anything they did they had to do on their own–reinventing the proverbial wheel so to speak. Good work to be sure, but difficult. Independence also means when they have need of encouragement, accountability, wise counsel, correction, or succession few know where to turn.
There are faithful folk gathering in congregations all around us who may be praying for a larger group to connect with, to be relational with, to share in the amazing work that God has called us all to in seeing the kingdom of God expanded and flourishing.
They worship on other languages, other styles, other cultures, as do we, yet share in the statements of the Apostles Creed and the passion of seeing Christ revealed in the crowds, in the curious and in the committed. Sounds like the early church doesn’t it! And like the early church, who supported the churches near and far in prayers, in counsel, in resources, in need, our shared work as CBWC does this, near and far.
What churches around are on their own and perhaps would welcome an invitation to be enfolded in a family of folk who labour and long together in God’s mission among us? Talk to them or ask them to talk to Shannon, Cailey or Joell about how we can resource and encourage them: how we can be family with them.
Friends, we are a family of amazing people sharing God’s faithfulness to us with one another, with other labourers and with the world around us at home and beyond. Gifts and resourcing and talents and ideas that are not for us, but for God’s glory!
Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. Psalm 115:1