In Acts 2:42-47 we are given a description of the primary elements which should characterize the life of any local church: worship, preaching and teaching, fellowship, ministry, and evangelism.
Worship involves giving to God the honor which He deserves. Worship encompasses all of life as we do whatever we do in a way that honors God (Romans 12:1-2). However in a narrower sense worship involves honoring God in songs of praise, praying to God, hearing God’s Word, and taking the Lord’s Supper. Worship in this narrower sense takes place both on an individual level and in corporate gatherings as well.
Preaching and teaching involves opening up God’s Word for people so that they understand what it means and how it applies to their lives. At Cow Creek we believe that preaching and teaching the whole counsel of God’s Word is essential to equipping believers to serve Christ in every area of life. Everything we need for Christian faith and practice is revealed to us by God in the Scriptures.
Fellowship involves a mutual participation in each other’s lives as fellow members of the body of Christ. When we came to repent and believe the gospel the Holy Spirit united us to Jesus Christ and to His body the church. All Christians are brothers and sisters together in the one family of God. And at Cow Creek we strive to deepen our relationships with one another as fellow members of Christ’s body by assembling together both on the Lord’s Day, in other smaller gatherings (Home Fellowship Groups, Men’s and Women’s Bible Studies, etc.), as well as in many other informal contexts throughout the course of our daily lives so that we might be able to get to know one another more intimately and begin exercising our spiritual gifts in love for each other’s benefit. Through this type of fellowship we are built up together into the image of Christ.
Ministry involves meeting one another’s physical and spiritual needs. It’s the calling and responsibility of every member of the church. God has given pastors and teachers to the church in order to equip the members of the church for this work of ministry. He has also given each member of the church spiritual gifts which they are to put to use in order to minister to one another. And as we carry out this ministry, meeting each other’s physical and spiritual needs, the church as a whole will grow up into spiritual maturity (Ephesians 4:11-16). This maturity permeates and is expressed in every area of life. In Matthew 22:37-40 love for God and neighbor sums up the Kingdom life Jesus initiated. We are commanded to be salt and light in this dark world (Matthew 5:13-16). In the parable of the “Good Samaritan” we’re again commanded to go and do likewise (Luke 10:25-37). We are God’s workmanship created for good works (Ephesians 2:10). Ultimately as ambassadors of our Lord, our lives are to represent (in word, thought and deed) God’s redeeming love and holy character (applying all of God's word to how we live).
Evangelism is telling others the good news of what God has done to save sinners like them through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Evangelism is the primary mission which Christ has given to the church (Matthew 28:18-19). It is therefore the responsibility of the church as a whole, but will obviously be carried out by the individual members of the church. Indeed every true Christian can and should tell others the gospel which they have come to believe themselves. At Cow Creek we are striving to both support and participate in evangelism here in the Redding area and around the world.
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