The Church Is a Generative Community Ps. 145:1-4, 8-9

Hands generationWe’ve reached sermon five in our series Church Is at Its Best When… Today, we’re at our best when we’re a generative community of faith, generating more of ourselves for Christ’s cause. The psalmist speaks of a generative community saying: One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare God’s mighty acts.”  This describes a spread of generations declaring God’s faithfulness to each other and others. 

The persons who sit in these pews stretch from those starting out to those finishing up; we’re an intergenerational community.  We regenerate by passing on what we learn from God and each other.  The more our faith matures, the more we know what the psalmist repeats is true-The Lord is gracious, merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love; good to all, and God’s compassion is over all… We want to plant and nurture this seed of truth.  As we do so in a generative community, over the years, we regenerate ourselves;telling of God’s love and salvation in Christ to every generation, until we are living a faith that will outlive us.  Steadfast love

Generative isn’t a word we use often.  The dictionary definition: capable of producing or creating; pertaining to the production of offspring.  I choose the word because its root gives us words like generation and generous.  These words can help us unpack what it means to say a church is at its best when we are a generative community of faith. 

A generative community touches all generations.  This happens as we multiply by inviting and baptizing people into new or fresh faith.  A generative community of faith believes all successes in life are secondary to person’s generative spiritual formation.  There is no academic or athletic success more important than the spiritual growth of our children.  There is no career or family priority greater than the priority of being rooted in a generative community of faith that passes on the good news, so others might give their heart to God.  A generative community of faith regenerates itself; living and learning together in a community of faith. 

Pew DiversityIt’s not exclusively the pastor’s job any more than it’s exclusively persons in the pews job to generate the spiritual faith of others.  All are needed to pray and talk with others about their faith.  A generative community models faithfulness with their presence, not to get something out of church or something from God; we come to give ourselves to God, so we might regenerate ourselves.  Being a part of the regenerative process allows us to experience great joy of new generations taking their place in the community of faith.  Legacy

We see an example of the generative process after a loved one dies and the person’s legacy still speaks.  Every time my family gathers, months after my mom’s passing, someone speaks words that echo her influence.  My mother’s faith lives in each one of us, we can’t escape the sacred canopy she has spread over our heads.  So, our hearts try to keep beat with her heart, which beat so closely to the rhythm of God’s heart.  My mother inspired a generative family, which all generations tell of her love and the love of God she instilled in each of us.  A generative community of faith touches all generations with the steadfast love of God.

Note BurningA generative community of faith is generous.  It challenges each other to greater generosity.  Competition in giving isn’t offensive when everyone is looking for excuses to give more because of the many good things it can generate for God in other people’s lives.  A generative community that is competitive in generosity; is a spiritually powerful community; competing not just with others but with ourselves in generosity. 

Over the past five years, as the economy has gone through this recession, you’ve given, even when times were hard and almost paid off our debt.  We’re so close to burning the note, I can smell the smoke.  After cutting and freezing budgets for years, we’re dreaming again in our 2014 budget. When’s the last time we asked if we could do better in being generous? 

Let me issue a challenge for the remainder of 2013.  This is blessing bowl, I suggest each household designate one in their home.  Each time we speak how this community of faith blesses our lives; we drop in a pre-designated amount into the bowl, attaching our spiritual blessings to our generosity.  Blessing Bowl

It will be dollar in our household.  For example, when I come home and tell Terri the day’s blessings, a bell will go off in my head counting the dollars that need to go in the blessing bowl; and vice versa.  We are going to bring our blessing offering to church at the end of each month, putting it in a special envelope, so we can celebrate our blessings and the generosity of this community of faith.  I hope each one of you will participate with your own pre-determined amount-nickel, dime, quarter, dollar or more.

Staying close to the community of faith helps us flourish in an abiding relationship with Christ.  Staying close to the community of faith maintains the personal touch needed to strengthen each other.  Staying close to the community of faith creates opportunities to care for each other and those who intersect our lives.  Staying close to the community of faith organizes us, so we can engage the world together.  Staying close to the community of faith helps us declare God’s love all generations and to seek ways to be a more generous community of faith.  This is what it looks like to be generative community of faith, and this is when the church is at its best!

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Published in: on October 6, 2013 at 4:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

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