Looking out at a sea of smiling faces, I wanted to stop and look at every single one.
“How are you?”
“What’s your name?”
“I’ve missed you!”
Those were my thoughts as our Women’s Bible Study began for the spring semester. For the groups that met together at the church, this was the first time we had all been in a room together since spring of 2020! What a joy it brought to my heart to see all of the faces, hear the buzz of the conversations, and once again get hugs from so many women that I don’t often see. There were many new faces and many faces I have missed for so long. I just wanted to stop my teaching and look at every single one!
Gathering together is something we are called to do. We aren’t meant to walk out our faith alone. God has blessed us by placing us in the body of Christ, the Church. Together we are called to strengthen the body by growing in Christlikeness, by encouraging one another, and by partnering in the gospel.
The Importance of Being Together as the Body of Christ
God has given each believer spiritual gifts for the common good of strengthening the body. Each of us is uniquely suited to serve God in the local church. These gifts are also tools of sanctification for the church. Sanctification (growing in Christlikeness) is meant to be done in the context of the local church, where we grow in unity with Christ and with His body. This unity is displayed in our actions. The writer of Hebrews exhorts us to “stir up one another to love and good works” (Heb 10:24). How can we stir one another up if we aren’t together? All of the “one another” statements must be done through actions, most of which require personal interaction. Love, admonish, and bear with one another. Greet, serve, and comfort one another. Be hospitable toward one another, etc. As we meet together and interact we get to know each other. We learn from each other. Our heartfelt intentions can become actions of love, mercy, and kindness. Our love is proven. I can say that I love my sister but I must be with her to tangibly demonstrate that love. John 13:35 says that the world will know that we belong to Christ by our love for one another. As we grow in Christlikeness, we are better able to represent Christ in the world, as His image-bearers.
We also need one another for support and encouragement. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 speaks of the reward of having another by your side. “Two are better than one…..For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.” In the real world, we will have trials and struggles. We need one another for encouragement, for remembering the truths of God, for perseverance when life is hard, for prayer, and sometimes for a gentle, loving rebuke. Woe to us when we don’t have our fellow believers around us for loving support in trying times.
A couple of years ago I was facing a trial. My ministry partners didn’t know the details yet they were there and supported me. They spoke truth, prayed for me, checked in on me regularly, and continued to love me even when life was messy. They were there, alongside me, being the body of Christ, demonstrating “if one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Cor. 12:26).
As members of the body of Christ, we are called to be gospel partners, pursuing and proclaiming Christ together for His glory. According to 1 Peter 2:9, “we (the Church) are a chose people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.” We are called to make Christ known, proclaiming Him with our words and by living the gospel life. We are living stones, being built up into a spiritual house where we will together perform works to bring honor to God (1 Peter 2:5). We are His ambassadors, imploring the world to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20). I am so thankful for my ministry partners who give me the courage to live the gospel life. Who are your gospel partners?
How To Get Involved With the Body of Christ at Heritage
Being together again at Women’s Bible Study made me even more excited about being together at The Cove for the Align Women’s Retreat in April! What a great way to get to know and encourage other women! Have you registered?
Members of the body, gospel partners, co-laborers, ambassadors…..these titles all imply being together and working together. All believers are called to be actively involved in the local church, using their gifts to build up the body of Christ. Whether a ministry partner in children’s ministry, women’s ministry, the choir, on a Disciple-Making Team, or a greeter at the door on Sunday morning, you have a crucial part of the body of Christ.
Come! Join a small group Bible study! Join a ministry team! Attend the Align Women’s Retreat! Let’s all actively pursue Christ and proclaim Him to others through the local body of Heritage Baptist Church.
Rhonda leads our Women’s Ministries Team. She is excited to join the ladies of Heritage at The Cove for a weekend of focusing on Jesus. One of her greatest joys is helping women fall more in love with Jesus by knowing Him better. Rhonda’s own delight in Jesus encourages women around her to participate in gospel partnerships, taking friendships to a deeper level of meaning with Christ at the center.