Chapter 5: Church

When Jesus took on flesh and became human in order to fulfill the calling God had given God’s people centuries earlier, he gathered around him a group of followers. His goal was to bring them along with him in carrying out God’s mission in the world. While many of these people deserted him in his moment of greatest trial, it wasn’t long before most of them returned to the rest, ready to carry on the way of life Jesus had modeled for them.

From that point on, as the community of Jesus-followers grows, things don’t always play out the way Jesus would have hoped. Both individuals and groups of people get distracted and fail to imitate the example they’d been given. In fact at times the behavior of some of these followers of Jesus is indistinguishable from the behavior of those who had no interest in Jesus. And yet at every turn there are those who keep reminding these Jesus-followers what it truly means to follow Jesus. Paul and Peter and John and so many others refuse to let the church forget their calling to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

This pattern continues on to this day. History between the days of the early church and today is filled with both beautiful and brutal stories of the church sometimes living up to its calling and other times failing miserably. Yet it is still God’s dream that followers of Jesus, called into community as the church, would be sharers of God’s blessings with the world God loves so much.

Consider the following thoughts from Mark Labberton as he calls the church to renewed faithfulness to the way of Jesus in the world.

Questions for Reflection

1. In what ways have you witnessed the church struggle to be faithful to the way of Jesus?

2. In what ways have you witnessed the church embody faithfulness to the way of Jesus?

3. What is one way you think the church can take action to be more faithful to the way of Jesus in the days ahead?

Living A Better Story Playlist

If stories form the script of our lives, music provides the soundtrack. This playlist–comprised of songs that explore the themes of the various chapters of the story of Scripture–is intended to help saturate our hearts and minds with lyrics and music that will help us with Living A Better Story.

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