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Emmanuel Bristol is a family of churches working together to make more disciples, who will plant more churches, to show more people that Jesus is Lord.

“I will build my church” – an update from Emmanuel Ashley Down

People have very kind been asking how our first meeting went last Sunday.  Under God, we had a good start.  The best thing was the way everyone was using their different gifts: whether it was welcoming newcomers, making coffee, packing a trailer or having the whole church back for lunch!

One thing we are working hard on is trying to keep evangelistically minded.  Ironically, even though we are setting up the congregation to reach out to more people, it can be easy to lose that focus amidst all the complexities of getting going.
That’s not to say that this new congregation exists solely for mission, any more than it exists solely for edifying believers.  This point struck home with me in a recent article I came across which made the point that our role is to build the church – not just build it up. 
Here is the section which really grabbed me: 

Jesus is building his church, his gathering, and he is doing it in and through the work of his people – through our prayerful speaking of his word to each other and to those outside. This is why Paul tells us that when we get together all things are to be done for edification, for building (1 Cor 14:26). Unfortunately, we keep attaching the word ‘up’ to the word ‘building’, which is quite unnecessary, and makes it sound like it is only about encouraging Christians. The word just means ‘building’. You can build up, you can build out, you can build in, but everything is done for building. So when an outsider is in our midst, and he hears the word of God intelligibly spoken, and is convicted—he is being built (in this case we might say built ‘in’ to Christ’s gathering rather than ‘up’).

The whole thing is worth reading, but if you are short on time, make sure you look at the author’s conclusion under the heading “So what is the church for”, where he summarises his main point and then draws out the implications.