Are We Successful?
There is so much going on in the life of Mililani Baptist Church right now. It's exciting to see things from my perspective. There are always activities going on, but there is a strong sense of purpose, fellowship, and unity that is pervading the members of the body lately. It's been a blessing to see the changes gradually taking place within our sanctuary as part of our Operation Church Beautification Project. Early in March it was great to see a wide variety of people come together to help construct our new stage. On Monday, March 21 we had a day of prayer and fasting amongst the membership here at MBC. It was neat to see the number of people that turned up for the corporate prayer time on that Monday evening, and to hear about how many participated in the fast as a whole. On Wednesday, March 23 our Senior Adult Ministry got together with some of our staff to help stuff over 3,000 Easter eggs for our Easter outreach event. There is indeed a buzz amongst this body of believers.
I'm hoping that excitement continues to build towards our Revival that is coming April 29—May 1. That event and the time leading up to it provide a tremendous opportunity for every individual within our church, as well as the church as a whole, to examine ourselves and see where we are at in our relationship with Jesus Christ, and with one another. There is a lot that we can be praying for leading up to this event, but I believe that one of the most important things needed here at MBC is unity in the Spirit! A church without unity is floundering, but a church unified is one that reflects the very nature of Christ, and is thus capable of more than we can imagine.
One of the questions I have asked myself over the years is what makes a church successful? Success can be measured in a number of ways, but I am confident that two elements are essential above all else.
Staying true to the biblical text. More important than church size and friendliness is a commitment to standing firm upon the Word of God. Having a firm grasp of the Gospel message goes along with this. God looks upon our hearts, not at our outward appearance. I believe this is true for churches as well as individuals. While it's great to be friendly and to have lots of activities, and a beautiful building, all of that pales in significance to being grounded in Scripture.
Unity within the church body. Unity is so critical to the life and health of the church. It also happens to be a concept that is misunderstood by many within the church. Paul urges the Ephesians to be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (4:3). The Spirit gives unity to us and it is our responsibility to maintain it. Unity should permeate the total atmosphere of the church. In those churches where it isn't, that typically means that the seeds of discontent are being tossed about, and that disunity is spreading liking a virus. One of the reasons why unity is so hard to achieve in churches today stems from the fact that individualism has infiltrated our churches. We have believers operating within churches who are bent on having their own needs met first and foremost. They make decisions based upon what is best for them or the areas of ministry that they are involved in. They often use words like "I think" or "My" a lot. "I think so and so needs to do this/that." "This is what will benefit my children, or my family, or my ministry, or my Sunday School class the most." These people have gradually turned the church into a consumer driven entity where it's all about satisfying and entertaining them. They often claim to want unity, but really what they are saying is I will be unified with the rest of the body as long as I get "my" way, or only if I get to have "my" voice heard.
Having unity doesn't mean that we are going to agree with one another on every issue. It does mean though that at times we will each have to stomach decisions that are made that we don't agree with. Unity means that regardless of what decisions are made we are unified in the mission to stand firm upon the truth of the Bible and to take the Gospel out to people who have yet to receive Christ as their Savior and Lord. It's remaining committed to one another and working together for the greater good of the body of Christ, even if that means it's costly to our own comfort or desires.
Mililani Baptist Church will impact the world for Christ as far as we are willing to commit to the biblical text and stay unified as one body in Christ. To that end, I'm excited by what I've seen in recent months here at MBC. Continue to pray as we move through this period of spiritual renewal this Spring leading up to this month's revival. A church grounded in and living out the Word, and a church striving to maintain the unity of the Spirit is a beautiful and glorious entity to behold. May the beauty of this church family and the glory of our God radiate from within us throughout this community and the rest of the world in the days ahead!