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The primary purpose of the union of Churches in the World Federation of Churches is to call one another to visible unity in one Christian Faith and fellowship, expressed in worship and common life in Christ, through our witness and service to the world, and to advance towards this unity in order that the world may believe.
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Building A Confident Church by Timothy Peck

by Timothy Peck
1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

Because the real church is the people, not the building, the Bible doesn't really say much about building programs. But the Bible does command followers of Jesus Christ to build the church. For instance, the Bible calls the church--the community of Gods people--Gods building (1 Cor 3:9). First Corinthians 14:12 contains a command to all followers of Jesus Christ to strive to build up the church. My job description as a pastor in Ephesians 4:12 is to equip church members to serve in ministry so that the church might be built up. So building a church is a biblical concept, but this kind of building has very little to do with bricks, drywall or carpeting. Instead, building the church has to do with the community of people.

We are going to talk about five bricks that are each absolutely necessary to build a confident church.

1. Our Leadership (1 Thess 5:12-13).The first brick is CONFIDENCE IN OUR LEADERSHIP. We see this in vv. 12-13.

Here Paul is talking to the entire congregation--all the members--about their attitude toward the leadership. In some ways the Thessalonian church isn't much different than churches are today. Here we find a group of people in v. 12 who "work hard," those men and women who sacrifice their energy, their time, and their money to make the church ministry happen. The word for "work" Paul uses here has the idea of manual labor, of toil and sweat (Louw and Nida 42.47; Stott 119). As we will see in a few minutes, there was also a group of people who weren't doing anything. So the church in Thessalonica was probably like most churches in our culture today: 20% of the people were doing 80% of the work. Those who were working hard were probably feeling under appreciated, and the rest of the congregation was taking them for granted.

Paul further defines this group of people--the workers--as those who were "over" the Thessalonians. They were spiritual leaders in the church, those who admonished the Thessalonians and taught them about God. This has led some people to identify this group as the church pastors or elders (Stott 119).

Paul doesn't say to crown your pastors and elders as kings, but to "respect" them. The word "respect" in v. 12 actually means to "know" someone so well that you appreciate their true worth (Morris 165). So Paul is talking about a relational kind of respect here, which is consistent with v. 13 where he says to do this "in love."

Bishop William Brown Named WFC President