What's Next for Oak Hills? (Part 3)
July 12, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
That is what’s next for Oak Hills. And always will be. I touched on this unchanging mission of our church last week. While the mission never changes, we constantly need to recalibrate our hearts toward this mission through repentance, prayer, and availing ourselves of the ordinary means of grace.
With the elders, I have identified four areas where we can grow as a church. These areas are not necessarily in the “change or die” category, but they are ways we can grow in order to be more faithful to our mission. I want to highlight these four areas over the next few weeks.
Number 1: Cultivate a Culture of Invitation.
We’re familiar with commands in Scripture about sharing our faith (“Go and make disciples…” be “prepared to make a defense for the hope…”). We know the church is the “salt of the earth” and “light of the world.” Our mission states that we “long to make known the astonishing grace of God.” How can we, as individuals, contribute to this mission and calling so that our church is faithful? Out of our delight in Christ and God’s grace, we can grow in our love for others so that they may be drawn to the goodness of God that has transformed us. This is what I call cultivating a culture of invitation.
A Culture of Invitation is a group environment where we encourage one another to joyfully invite others to join us. It’s about being a certain type of group that is intentional and natural in welcoming others. That group has been shaped by the gospel so that we become a community and fellowship worth joining.
How do we cultivate and grow such a culture? A lot of different angles can be addressed here, but I want to focus on one. Notice the relationship between love for others and hospitality emphasized by four different New Testament writers:
Romans 12:10, 13 Love one another with brotherly affection… Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Hebrews 13:1-2 Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers…
1 Peter 4:8-9 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Matthew 22:39 You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Luke 10:36-37 “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise."
Hospitality, the compassionate care for and sharing with others, is the outworking of love. Love… love for neighbor and The work of God through Christ and the gospel transforms us into a loving community. love for God… is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). “We love because he first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19). If we lack love for others, and hospitality, it is rooted in our lack of faith and knowledge and delight in God’s love for us.
Therefore, if we are striving and growing in our treasuring of Christ, we will naturally cultivate a culture of invitation.