Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Church is a Relay Race

1 Corinthians 12:12
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.

I believe the church is a lot like a relay race. Where you have a team composed of different people (backgrounds, cultures, world views, etc) but they have the same goal.

The baton race tips are from Coach Nigel Hetherington, the Scottish National Sprints and Hurdles coach.

  • The race is about the baton, not the runners. The objective is to keep the baton moving at maximum speed at all times throughout the race.

Somewhere along the lines of the modern church we've made it about us. It's never about us. It's about God getting His glory out of us and us being obedient to the mission of Christ.

When you hand the baton to the next generation what condition will the church be in? Healthy? Unhealthy? How would you be missed? What would change? What difference does your presence make? What if everyone was as committed as you are? How would the church look if everyone studied the Word, prayed, and served exactly like you?

Your faith is not an add-on. You play a intricate role.

This generation of teenage and young adult Christians need to see tangible compassion in the lives of the people who make up the body of Christ.

  • The relay brings out the best in everyone. The relay should increase, not decrease, the speed of the athletes. A properly trained 400 meter relay team will post a time that is less than the four runners' combined 100 meter times.

You can be a good Christian and not go to church. But you cannot be a great one. The church is meant to create an opportunity for people to reach their God given potential. We're not meant to be Lone Rangers.

Have you reached your full potential? Are you helping someone else reach theirs?

  • Practice until the handover becomes instinctual. Athletes must learn to trust one another; no looking back.

It's important that we understand that the church is made of imperfect people and if you are in search for the perfect church and find one don't go there because you'll jack it up. What we do here in our worship is mere practice for all eternity. So we better learn how to worship, love, and show grace to others now.

  • The baton exchange should occur at very close maximum speed. The incoming athlete should not be overstretched or they will be off-balance when making the exchange. The outgoing runner must focus on reaching full speed.

Here's the deal. We often segregate the people in the church into age brackets and gender (youth, young adult, experienced adults, men, women ministries). At times these are good but healthy churches have the older or spiritually mature influencing the younger or spiritually immature. We need to allow these walls to fall in order that the next generation of believers have a better introduction to the church.

How many of you were mentored by someone besides a parent or pastor? We need this in the church. This is why experienced adults can get frustrated with the younger. "They don't know how to act in church." Has anyone come along side of them to teach them how?...and with more than a "stop it".

  • A baton drop does not automatically disqualify a team. Whoever had the baton when it was dropped may retrieve it and continue the race. If the incoming runner drops it, they may pick it up and complete the pass.

Like I said earlier we are not perfect. Because of that we need to allow room for things to get dropped. We may not do everything right in the eyes of every person, but we should allow room for those dropped batons and encourage each other to finish strong.

2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

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