In the same way, I have never known a Christian who was growing in faith, secure in fellowship, profoundly aware of the grace of God, and empowered by the Spirit, who did not want to extend himself or herself graciously to other people. Whenever I see churches that don’t want to reach out to others in evangelism and mission, or see Christians who don’t want to share their faith or welcome unbelievers to their churches, it is usually because there is brokenness in the middle of the community. Pastors can harange about the eternal importance of saving souls, but if people feel disconnected, disregarded, or discouraged, they will not extend themselves to others. When hurt abounds, ministry flounders. But when love is ample, ministry flourishes. (pg. 140)

As I finished Bolsinger’s book, It Takes A Church To Raise A Christian, I was left with this vision of pastoral care. We can’t expect our local bodies to grow and flurish, for Christians to realize and be empowered unto their missional callings if we don’t care for and nurture the local church community. Spending time discipling, counseling, and disciplinning is not wasted time. Its not time that detracts from the mission of God, its time that supports the one of the structures that allows God’s mission to be ongoing.

Until we value our community all our statements about how much we value and love others won’t have a persuasive example to entreat others. Some of the many things Bolsinger suggested throughout this work such as; a resurrection of table fellowships in private homes within the church or small groups where the word and the Lord’s supper could take place and intimacy and healing could be felt, and a special gathering together of those who have the gift of evangelism to lead as a commitee in the local church are elements of pastoral philosophy I’m eager to engage.

Bolsinger’s picture relieves the supposed tension between being a missional church and being a discipling church by showing that the two instead of being larger focuses that can depict local churches attitudes are in fact inseparable parts of what a healthy church looks like and how the mission of God is accomplished through his people.

What are some ways we can begin in our local bodies to take the communal nature of the local church more seriously? What are some ways we can reclaim the value and the power of the Lord’s Supper in our ministries? How can we grow as a body, and in that grow as a misional church?  While these questions remain general here, they are much more specific in Bolsinger’s work, I leave a closer reading of it for you to undergo…