What does a strong church look like?



ANN ARBOR, MI – On December 8, 2019, 21 believers covenanted together to establish Treasuring Christ Church of Ann Arbor, MI. As we approached this day, the most pressing question that swirled in my mind was, “What kind of church would God have us to be?” There are so many helpful resources available to church planters today, for which we should be grateful. Yet, in the midst of all the resources, we cannot forget our one essential resource—God’s Word. Our understanding of the church and what God’s Word has to say about it should not be an optional feature to our church planting strategy, but should be foundational to it.


Where would you turn for such instruction and direction?


My mind was drawn to the Pastoral Epistles. Over the years, I have been fortunate to see faithful pastors model 2 Timothy 2:2, investing in me and entrusting me with the task of leading God’s church through faithfully teaching God’s Word. In 1 Timothy 3:14-16, Paul provides a brief summary of God’s design for the church. Listen to what he says:


(14) I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, (15) if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. (16) Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:


He was manifested in the flesh,

vindicated by the Spirit,

seen by angels,

proclaimed among the nations,

believed on in the world,

taken up in glory.


Paul makes clear that the church is the household of God. If we are to understand our calling as the church, we must understand that we are not our own. Together, we belong to God; together, we are the household of God. God has taken up residence among His people, the church. He has tasked His church to be the faithful guardian of the truth of His Word. He has entrusted us with a great confession to hold fast and hold high.


Paul’s instruction to Timothy in 1 Timothy provides a robust description of the kind of church God desires. Just consider these points:


  1. The church should teach sound doctrine and commit itself to God’s Word (1:8-11; 4:6-16).

  2. The church should proclaim Jesus Christ as the Savior of sinners (1:15; 2:4-6).

  3. The church should be a people of prayer; for those in authority, for one another, and for others to come to saving faith in Jesus Christ (2:1-10)

  4. The church should be led by godly, qualified pastors and served by godly, qualified deacons (3:1-13; 5:17-25)

  5. The church should be known for pursuing and growing in godliness (4:6-10; 6:6-10)

  6. The church should care for the needy among them (5:1-16)


This is God’s design for His church, and this is the church I want to labor faithfully to shepherd and lead.


When church planters work towards this week in and week out, God will bear fruit deep and wide in our churches. I recently read a quote from Charles Spurgeon, the great “Prince of Preachers” who pastored in London in the latter half of the 19th century. Since I read it, I haven’t been able to get it off my mind. It describes my desire for Treasuring Christ Church, and I pray it is the desire of church planters and pastors all over our state.


Spurgeon was asked, “What does a strong church look like? He responded, “They are earnest, devoted, at peace, loving each other, and striving together to do the Master’s work. Such a congregation is strong, whether it is composed of a dozen or five hundred members!”


Imagine church plants and churches all over Michigan laboring to this end. Now that Treasuring Christ Church has been established, you will find us laboring to be a strong church like this, and seeking to plant other strong churches all over southeast Michigan, across North America, and to the ends of the earth.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Guyer is the Lead Pastor of Treasuring Christ Church in Ann Arbor, MI. He is married to Emily and they have two children. In addition to hanging out with his family, Michael loves a good cup of Ethiopian coffee, anything with peanut butter, and just about every sport. His greatest desire is to see Jesus treasured above all things and His church established right here in Ann Arbor and to the ends of the earth.


#JANUARY20


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