I like watching the Channel 5 TV programme ‘Cowboy Builders.’ The hosts, Melinda Messenger and Dominic Littlewood, investigate and chase down reckless builders who leave behind them piles of rubble, ruined homes, heartache, and financial angst.
A house is as good as its foundation. That’s a true saying. If we don’t get the foundation right serious damage can be done to the house: cracks can develop, walls can begin to give way and we may find ourselves being classed as ‘rogue builders’ and chased by the ‘Cowboy Builders’ team. The congregation is likened to a building (1 Corinthians 3:9; Ephesians 2:20-22) and it’s critical that the foundation is as it should be.
As congregation leaders arm themselves with an inspired vision their intention is clear – it is to build. And those intentions usually play out like this:
We all want an engaging, happy congregational environment but sadly this, for many, remains aspirational. However, with such missional activities, leaders must work to ensure that the things that make the foundations strong are maintained, not neglected.
Where the congregation is concerned what makes a good foundation? Its core beliefs, core practices and core values. These are the things that define the congregation and will not change; they give it stability, strength and longevity.
Whilst it’s imperative for congregations to get missional - reaching out to the lost with the gospel, nurturing and establishing new believers (we should always be banging this drum!) - it is equally important to give attention to the foundation, because it’s what everything sits on!
Leaders must . . .
When it comes to the foundation of the congregation don’t be a ‘cowboy builder.’ Remember, it’s what everything is built on. Don’t let the things that make the foundations go unattended! If we do we imperil all the good work of bringing the gospel to those who’re perishing.
The loftier the building the deeper must the foundation be laid
THOMAS A KEMPIS
If you can look upon every man as an object of [Yahweh's] yearning, so that you become burdened for his soul - that is maturity
2 Thessalonians 2:15 (NIV)
So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
2 Timothy 1:13-14 (HCSB)
Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in [Messiah Yahshua]. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who lives in us, that good thing entrusted to you.
1 Corinthians 3:10 (NASB)
According to the grace of [Elohim] which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.
Father, as we are busy at work carrying out Yahshua’s commission, nurturing and building the Body, help us not to neglect our foundation. Please give us the ability to creatively teach and model before the people our core beliefs, practices, and values. We want to be wise and competent builders, so help us hold fast to the things that make our foundation.
For just as each of us has one body with many members...