Friend-la-tion-ship vs. committed relationship

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(Sky rockin’ his Mill City Church “Belong” onesie)

Today at Mill City, Pastor Aaron Stern finished up his series called Our House.  The series focused on the idea that church is not building centric but people centric.  It is not just a service we attend, but a family in which we belong.  I LOVE this idea that church is more than just a place you show up to on Sunday. It is NOT a building. WE are the Church. It is all about the people.

The main focus for today’s sermon is: Are you in a friendlationship with the church (the people) or a committed relationship??  Before I jump into the meat of the sermon, you are probably wondering, “What is a “friend-la-tion-ship?” Well, according to Aaron Stern’s dictionary here is the definition:

Friend-la-tion-ship: Enjoying the benefits of a relationship without the commitment.

Wow! I know, you know what I’m talking about here.  Most people have been in this situation before when it came to a significant other.  There is that phase where you are still classified as a friend but you are more than a friend but you aren’t quite a girl friend/boy friend. Haha. You guys know what I’m talking about! Anyway, some people like to stay at this stage. Some people are afraid to commit to more than the friend-la-tion-ship.  Or they think, why move on if they can get all the benefits without ever committing?

There are many people that are in this same situation when it comes to the church.  They might have a fear committing  to the church that stems from being burned in the past.  Or perhaps they had no relationship at all. Perhaps we are scared to get closer to people because of the vulnerability it can create and we are just comfortable where we are.  Perhaps we do not think there is a need to go beyond Sunday morning, it is just a check the box kind of thing for the week.  Whatever the reason, they are hesitant about going beyond Sunday morning.

But, we have to remember the long term goal if you are a Christ follower is to be in a “long-term relationship” and to be long-term committed to the house.  I ask that you open up to the possibility that “Our House”, the Church, is much more than just Sunday mornings but that we are the Church everyday of the week. Wednesday morning, Friday night, Saturday afternoon… we are part of the church that has moved through history and continues today.

In Ephesians 1:16-23, it talks about Christ as the head of the church.  Christ leads his people, his family, his church today, just as he has throughout the ages and for the age to come.  Despite all of the mistakes that us humans have made who happen to be part of the house, it is Jesus Christ on whom the cornerstone of the church was built, so it continues on.  Despite our sins and our transgressions and our short fallings, the church has lived on for hundreds and hundreds of years across all countries of the world with all different languages because of Jesus Christ! In Mark 11:17, Mark talks about us being a house of prayer for all nations!   When you commit to the church you commit to brothers and sisters across the world.

So, what does this mean to be committed to the church?  It means that God is calling us to leave the house (on Sunday) and to take the house around the world. To share the good word and our faith with others.  On Sunday, we are a gathering of the “scattered ones.”  But throughout the week, we are supposed to scatter to share Jesus’s word with others.  We gather on Sunday to study the word and incorporate Jesus’s teachings into our lives SO THAT we can go out from Sunday service and live out our faith.  In Hebrew 10:24-25 it states, “24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Are you willing to commit to the house? To become vulnerable and broken? Are you willing to move forwards with your relationship with the church and to be transformed? Challenge yourself to assess your relationship with the church? Jesus was blessed, then broken, but still given to the world to bless others.  Will you do the same?

Share your thoughts on your perception of church as “our house” and church as a people, not a building.  If you would like to hear the entire series, you can go to podcasts on iTunes and search for Mill CIty Church or you can click here.  Or if you would like to see my summary from last Sunday’s sermon from Beau Johnson click here.

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