On Tuesday, I shared a verse from Paul on our Facebook page (@shorelinevaldosta) about God’s good work. Paul is explaining the change that followers of Jesus go through, and he details the grace that comes from God that provides salvation. Paul provides this summation: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, NASB). We are products of God’s good work, and we are to produce good works as well.
At Shoreline, this idea comes up again and again as we attempt to “Serve God. Love People.” The Body of Christ, which is composed of all of the collections of Jesus followers around the world, is a living and breathing creation. Paul’s point is a hard thing to keep hold of in application, because so much goes into doing church.
When Paul was starting churches—multiple, mind you, which blows me away as we try to start ONE—they met in homes or meeting houses. There was not much upkeep when they were meeting in venues that were used all week. He focused on two messages central to following Jesus: explaining Jesus and the salvation He provides; and equipping people to try to live like Jesus. That was it. That is all that there is.
As we move forward 2,000 years to today, things are different. Paul fought against the bureaucracy of the Jerusalem-centered church who wanted collections from all of the new churches. Some things stay the same, as red tape is not lacking in most churches and denominations. With the size of today’s churches and the numbers in a town like Valdosta (last I heard, we have 125 churches), doing church hasn’t gotten easier.
Most church campuses sit empty 90% of the week, if you don’t count the church office. The costs to heat and cool these campuses is astronomical as energy costs continue to rise. For all of the money and property dedicated solely to keeping the doors open, does that model best serve the two missions of the church: saving and equipping people? I don’t think so.
So, as the shock of that statement may hit some of you, Lindsey and I continue to say, God called us to do something different. We came to Valdosta to find God’s vision for this church, and we aren’t trying to be someone else. What Shoreline is: We are a Gospel-centered church committed to teaching people about Jesus and equipping them to be like Jesus. (Seems like I read that somewhere before.)
You and I, as followers of Jesus, are created by God with a purpose in mind. Shoreline is a creation of God as well. There are jobs for this church and each of us to do for the Kingdom of God. God has prepared the way before us, and He is leading us to walk in them. You have a purpose and, together, we will realize God’s good plan for us…whatever that looks like going forward.
Blessings to you,