What does Cambridge, Shell and Harvest have in common?

Setting the scene…
Starting off pulling content from a #1 rated podcast, will see what Cambridge and Royal Dutch Shell have in common, rewind back to Pentecost, and finally pull it all together as we discuss the Family.

Freakonomics podcast – family discussion and background

Authors: Steven Levitt (economist) and Steven Dubner (writer)
2005 coauthored Freakonomics
Blog: 5 million monthly downloads

Sample Podcast Titles:

* There’s No Such Thing as a Free Appetizer
* Why you should bribe your kids
* Why America doesn’t love soccer, yet
* The upside of quitting

Recent Podcast: Comparing life spans of companies to universities.

Talked about how both have to adapt to new situations…
Companies find it incredibly difficult…
Net result: companies tend to have short life spans.
Compare that to say, universities, who stick around for long periods.

Is the church analogous to a university or business?

What are universities good at? How does this compare to a church – by way of scripture…

* all about teaching – talented teachers
*
* (Matthew 28:19-20 – Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you)

* fellowship / socialization
*
* (Hebrews 10:25 – Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another)

* pointed mission and focus
*
* (Proverbs 16:3 – Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established)

* outcome based to get students high employability
*
* (Acts 2:38 – And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.)

Feels like loads that churches could learn from. And we/the church want to be around for a long period of time.

What drives a business?:

* profit/money
* increasing their customer base or footprint
*
* (Matthew 28:19-20)

* customer retention via tactics/services/products

Neither. Church is modeled after the family.
Ended with the conclusion: the church is not represented or modeled after either of the above.
Scriptural backing:

* 1 Tim 3:5 [Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons] If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?
* 1 Timothy 3:15 …but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
* 1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
* Romans 8:12-17
*
* 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
* 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[a] And by him we cry, “Abba,[b] Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Church started at Pentecost in Jerusalem.

* Luke 24:47-49 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Pentecost reminds us that the Christian Church was founded by Christ, not to perpetuate itself as a self-serving organization but to extend the divine provision of salvation to men and women everywhere.

Timing: 50 days after the feast of the first fruits.

What’s the take-home point? So what if the church is modeled after the family?

When we see the church as a family, when we view the ones around us as brothers/sisters, it will change how we function as a church.

We will be more harmonious
We will be more loving, caring
We will be more willing to go out of our way for a brother/sister
We will be more willing to help teach/aid/enable/mentor one another
Ultimately, to glorify him.

Four characteristics of Family to understand:

(1) Organization chart / structure – leaders and followers

In a family, there is a clear system of leadership which is imposed on the members of the family by God himself.

* Head of household…
*
* Ephesians 5:22-23 says, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.”

* Children to obey…
*
* Ephesians 6:1-3 commands, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.”

* Obey leaders
*
* Hebrews 13:17 “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you”

(2) Shared responsibilities

No one person does all the work

1 Peter 4:10: Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

(3) Love

Romans 12:10-13: Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

2 Thes 1:3: We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters,[a] and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.

(4) Inheritance

1 Peter 1:3-5 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”

Wrap-up

Scripture is clear on how the church should operate – like a family. There isn’t scriptural basis for modeling the church after a uni or business.

When we see each other and the church as our Christian family we are more likely to work together, function different, be harmonious.

Consider the inheritance you’ve been given… the love you can offer to someone around you… the responsibility you have to the church… and what your role is in the org chart.

Final scripture to sum it all up:
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, saying,
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if there be any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels of mercy, fulfill my joy, that you may be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Phil 2:1-2)

Take-away thought

This church is our family. How can we be improved brothers/sisters/fathers/mothers after today?