Family 01: Next Steps
The reference here is to the one, singular, unified church. The passage does not say Christ is the head of “the bodies” or “the churches.” Paul is indicating there is one, singular, global, or universal church.
The reference here shows that Paul made the distinction that within the region of Galatia, there were separate churches (plural). In Revelation 2–3, Jesus addresses letters to seven different churches within the area of Asia Minor. This shows that believers during the era of the New Testament embraced the church as a singular, unified body that included all the different people groups and geographical locations. At the same time, they recognized the existence of multiple local churches distinct from one another.
Paul left Titus in Crete because the community of believers was growing, yet there was no leadership to care for the church. The new group of believers was unorganized, and in order to maintain health and provide protection, Paul told Titus to appoint elders in the towns where there were believers.
In the early church, it was the spiritual leader’s responsibility to teach and instruct the community God had entrusted to him. This was done regularly when the church gathered. One of the main functions of the local church is to provide a place where God’s people can receive sound biblical teaching. In a world where there are a lot of opinions and truth is seen as something that people can adjust to their liking, it is important to have spiritual leaders who are given to the study and teaching of Scripture (Acts 6:4).
Weekly gatherings at Bethany are important because when believers get around others who love Jesus, there is a contagious encouragement to walk in faith. God created human beings as social creatures that are significantly influenced by community.
God wants Bethany Church to grow as people turn to Jesus. The size of a church does not matter, but a healthy church has a growing number of believers being added to it on a regular basis. Also, God wants to use all who are saved to be part of reaching people for Jesus and seeing people added to His church. At Bethany we exist to bring all people into the Life, Family and Purpose of God! This is a team sport!
God has gifted the body of Christ with people within the local church who lead believers to full maturity in Jesus. God’s desire for all His children is that they become more and more like Jesus. This is not a solo job—it is a group project. Bethany Church needs one another to grow into the people He has called us to be!
The local church is not just a religious tradition or some man-made invention. From the moment Jesus told His disciples to go into all the world and make disciples, and gave them the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to do so, the local church has been God’s design as a vital part of the believer’s growth and stability.