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I’m Not into Organised Religion

posted 15 Nov 2013, 06:05 by Stephen Childs
I can really relate to the person who says, “I’m not into ‘organised’ religion”.
 Generally, ‘organised’ religion looks like a hierarchy where people at the top are deciding what the people at the bottom should do. There isn’t much participation or belonging in a homogenised system like that… you just show up and do what you’re told.

But is the alternative disorganised religion?

I've had quite a few people tell me, “I have my own religion and way of doing things”.  And that can be OK, I suppose. But if each of us has a totally individualised and completely independent way of worshiping and serving God, what hope is there of experiencing unity or accomplishing anything great together?

Jesus offers us a third and better option.  He offers us the opportunity to work together using the unique gifts He gives each one of us. 

You see, oneness and unity are important to God (read Ephesians 4:4-6). But God created us as individuals. We are all unique with distinct likes and dislikes, different abilities and talents. And so Jesus gives us gifts that are specific to our uniqueness. 

When I was growing up, my dad travelled on business trips. When he came back, he always brought us gifts from the places he'd visited. Can you imagine what it would have been like if he’d brought back a toy for my sister, some sweets for my brother… and nothing for me? That would have been hugely disappointing! Thankfully, that’s not what he did.

My dad always brought something back for each of us. But the gifts weren't all the same. He knew that my sister liked a particular type of sweets and brought that back for her. He knew I loved cars, and when he saw a special little car, he would buy it for me.
That’s not unlike what Christ does for us. He decides what gifts to give us based on our uniqueness. He determines what is appropriate to give us so that we, in turn, can share our gifts with others. 

Beyond the gift of grace and salvation, Jesus gives every Christian a gift—something they can share with the church. 
  • Some people are very good at talking with others about Jesus.
  • Some people are very good at praying.
  • Some people are very good at welcoming people into their homes.
  • Some people are excellent at teaching Bible stories to children.
  • Some people are great encouragers. 
  • Some people are excellent leaders.
The leadership gifts Paul mentions in Ephesians 4: 11-12 (apostles, pastors, teachers, evangelists) all have to do with the Word of God. The Word of God—the Bible and the message of the gospel—channel all the other gifts so that God is glorified. Church leaders aren't meant to stand alone at the top commanding others to action. No, according to Ephesians 4:12-16, God gives leaders to the church in order to:
  • Encourage and equip Christians to grow to be more like Jesus even as the leaders themselves strive to be more like Jesus.  
  • Teach people how to study and understand the Bible so that they become mature in their faith and are able to use the scriptures to test messages and false teaching they may hear on the Internet, TV, or even in church.
  • Help Christians develop and use their unique gifts. 
When we all work together with the Bible guiding our efforts, we can grow to be more like Jesus; we can build one another up in love and unity even as we use our individual gifts. 

One last thought: Every instrument in an orchestra has a different sound and a unique part to play. When one instrument is missing, you may be able to figure out the tune, but the music just doesn't sound as good. 

It's the same with the church. If people are missing or if they don’t use their gifts, then the church isn't quite as effective and strong as it could be. So the question is, what part can you play? You know what your interests, skills, talents, and gifts are. How will you use them? 

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