by Ann and Bill Coker
Many a Christmas card has a picture of a church
“Suppose the apostle Paul had been asked, ‘What is central to your life?’ Paul would definitely have answered this question with a person: Jesus Christ. In fact, he began his first letter to the Corinthians with an emphasis on Christ being central in the church, before getting to his reasons for writing. You’ll notice the early church exhibited a great deal of difficulty, for he wrote of divisions, mentioning the quarreling among them. Before addressing these difficulties, Paul emphasized Christ being central.”
This is the first paragraph in the first chapter of Bill’s upcoming book: Let The Church Be The Church. As you can tell, the church is important to Bill and me – and to most Christians. And the central focus of the church is Jesus Christ. The church is (or should be) the place where we learn about Christ and how to follow and serve Him.
So what does the church mean to you? How important a place is it in your life? What impact has it played in your Christian growth and what people in the local church have influenced you for good? I recall a Sunday school teacher for junior high youth. Several times a year she gave an invitation for anyone to stay behind at the end of her class. Her purpose was to instruct us about a commitment to follow Jesus, to receive salvation. What also stands out in my memory is that her son did not join the church (with the usual group) until after he had made a commitment to Jesus. That impressed me, for I joined the church and then later I accepted Christ as my Savior.
I remember only one Sunday as a kid when I didn’t want to go to church. Don’t recall the reason, but I played sick while the rest of my family attended church. I was miserable; it was no fun missing Sunday school and worship service. Of course, you know that church has been vital to our family and ministry.
Bill’s new book – to be released at the end of this year – speaks to the church about the church. This is not a series, preached consecutive Sundays, but a collection of eleven messages over several years, all delivered at World Gospel Church, but some repeated elsewhere. Bill examines the components of a dynamic church and the body of Christ taking shape. He ends with a building plan for the church, one without walls, heat, or air conditioning.