Jesus prayed for his future followers, “that they will all be one, just as you and I are one…so that the world will believe you sent me” (John 17:21). Out of all of the ways Jesus could have prayed, it is clear that unity among his followers was of utmost importance. It will grab the world’s attention. However, unity is not accomplished in isolation but by working out faith together.
The Apostle Paul explains how the church is the body of Christ where followers of Jesus grow together.
He wrote, “He (Jesus) makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love” (Ephesians 4:16).
THREE WAYS HEALTHY CHURCHES HELP PEOPLE GROW IN THEIR FAITH:
1. Connect many followers of Jesus together as one body.
Followers of Jesus are interdependent. The church is the place where every follower of Jesus is connected, needed and known. Just like the body brings value to each part as each part brings value to the body. The church brings value to each person as each person brings value to the church.
2. Build up followers of Jesus to maturity.
Maturity means growing towards being fully developed. Just like a muscle doesn’t develop instantly, faith must be developed. It grows by learning scriptural truths, spiritual practices, and applying it in the context of real life and relationships.
3. Equip followers of Jesus to engage in his mission.
Paul points to two measures for followers of Jesus to be equipped properly. Grow in unity and grow in the knowledge of Jesus in order to follow his example (Eph. 4:15).
When a church is healthy, growing and full of love, it will be equipped to accomplish the mission of Jesus.