Covenant in Community

I recently heard of an English Bishop compare the mission of the church to that of a museum: "I suppose... keeping alive aspects of the Christian heritage for those who are interested in that sort of thing..." Statistics seem to back him up: last year, 2.7m church members left, never to come back again. Every year in America 4,000 churches close their doors (while only 1,000 are planted). There are now half as many churches as there were a hundred years ago. Is this the church's last hurray? Will our generation witness the death of the church? A recent poll revealed that less than 9% of Americans have a Christian world view (believing that the Bible is accurate, in a literal hell / heaven, that salvation is only by grace). Does church really still work? The honest answer is yes and no. Some do and some don't. The difference: great churches are communities where the new covenant has united membership in a common grace and a common purpose. (Ephesians 2:14-22)

A New Community

What does it mean to be a church? We would agree that it's about the people more than the steeple. Is it a team, a family, a club, an organization, a group, a business? In truth, a New Testament church is a faith-family - a covenant community. Hebrews 10:19 & 21 reminds us that we, as Christians, have received a new covenant. To call our attention to these, the author says: "Having..." We have access to God, and we have an advocate before God. Based upon what we have in the new covenant...