Each week, I accompany my son to his weekly hikes in the Dandenong mountains (as part of his school program), and in order to make each hike interesting, we go to a different location each week. I enjoy connecting with nature and the beautiful scenery, and the opportunity to bond with my son, but one of the best parts of the experience is the people I meet as I hike. Each person has a different level of fitness and are on the same journey as I am. Sometimes when I struggle through a steep bend and my eyes meet someone’s who is way fitter than I am, I’m often greeted with words of encouragement (“you can do it”, “you’re nearly there, keep going”), and people waving & smiling at me, and that keeps me going. It seems like everyone understands what you’re trying to do, it’s a place where they have been before, and you don’t get judged or shamed for where you are at. It’s a community of like-minded people, encouraging each other, understanding each other, having the same fitness goal. The Christian community works in a similar way, though for a higher purpose and deeper meaning - to assist you in your walk with God, and to achieve His mission, together.
Several times in the Old Testament, we see God building His community and establishing their identity & unity through their gathering and worship of Him in a ‘temple’ (designated place of worship). In Ezra too, we see God bringing the exiled Jews together through the centralized goal of rebuilding His temple of worship at Jerusalem. When the exiled return to Jerusalem, the physical rebuilding of the temple and resumption of corporate worship results in their reunification and sanctification and the building of His community. The Jews realise, their life, purpose, and identity are grounded only in God and in their keeping His commands. They also realise they are a community set apart for His purpose and His mission.
God builds His Church for His mission and works through His community to fulfill it. And as people do mission together, they are transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit, personally and as a community (enriching and building each other’s faith). GWAC is currently going through a “re-envisioning process” as it seeks God’s vision to what He wants them to be in 2025. God needs you to be involved in this process and be transformed in your personal faith as you seek His vision as a Church, worship Him together, and join hands with others to fulfill His mission with His power. I am ready, Lord. Are you?