One of the greatest joys Christmas is the giving and receiving of gifts.
There’s something wonderful about the sight of mounds of ripped wrapping paper spread out all around the lounge room, alongside the little mounds of bounty that each person has accumulated through the festivities.
We can understand how a Christian might receive a gift, but in Ephesians chapter four we read that Jesus has given gifts to his church.
Naturally we’d think that gifts are like abilities or talents, so that the church might have some people who are ‘gifted’ at music, or teaching, or administration, or pastoral care, or whatever.
But in this part of the Bible, the gifts are actually the people themselves.
If the church was to open up a gift from Jesus, then inside the box would be people!
And not just any kind of people: they are people who speak the word of God.
For Ephesians chapter four verse eleven says: “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.”
All of those people who are gifted to the church are speakers of God’s word… and they are really great gifts!
Because we also read that the way that the body of Christ, the church, is built, is through their ministry.
And the impact is very important for the church, for we read that this ministry helps us “come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13).
The result of these gifts from Jesus are that we will be unified, knowledgable, mature, and Christlike.
And that’s the best gift of all!
(Credit: Alice Harold via Flickr)
The sixth and final value of our church says that, “we are heritage in our style, as we gather in our historical building in a contemporary context.”
In a sense, this final value is all about aesthetics—the look and feel of our facilities and image.
Since we gather in a building that is over 150 years old, we value the look and feel of the sandstone, the stained glass, and the traditional architecture.
We prefer a vintage and classical styling in our design and development, as we embrace the experience of gathering in a venue that enjoys continuity with many generations of Jamberoo residents.
In these unsettling, unprecedented times, our setting provides some comfort in its connection with the faith and the faithful of the past, who found their anchor in Christ.
At the same time, we recognise that a vibrant and contemporary Christian congregation must engage with the latest in technology and design in order to make the most of innovation within the rapidly-changing patterns of society.
So, whilst we have a vintage ‘vibe’, we choose to utilise modern technology and architecture in the way we connect and gather.
Yet the notion of heritage also acknowledges that our current congregation has inherited our buildings and properties from those who sacrificially provided the place in which we now meet together with Jesus, for the glory of his name.
We continue this legacy as we take our unchanging message to an ever-changing world, developing our heritage facilities for the next generation of believers.
We celebrate the history of faithful, Christian ministry in our buildings by committing above all to the faithful ministry of the word of God that takes priority over all, regardless of the aesthetic.