I’ve been reading through Paul’s pastoral letters this week. I’m always refreshed and renewed in my desire to minister to people as I read these letters. They restore my faith in God’s plan to work through the local church. They inspire me to grow in my capacity to love and lead others.
Today, I read this:
“…I’m writing this letter so you’ll know how things ought to go in God’s household, this God-alive church, bastion of truth.”
-1 Timothy 3:15 (MSG)
The NKJV also translates this the “ground and pillar of truth.” What a beautiful thing to say about the church! We’ve been entrusted with the very foundations of truth–the gospel of Jesus Christ. In a world where things seem uncertain and truth is seen as a matter of opinion, we stand as a solid reminder that there is one truth.
As in all things, local churches often fall short in their task of bearing truth. There are churches that lack power because their worship consists of trite emotionalism with little meaning. There has been no true application to the soul. There are churches that lack conviction because the preaching consists of whatever book or series is popular at the moment. There’s no prayerful application of truth. There are churches that lack perspective because their services exist purely on an ideological level. Their theological and religious practices never touch the reality (truth) of their day to day lives.
Do a quick word study on truth and you’ll quickly see that truth is important to God. It’s what He uses to transform lives. It’s the guide He uses to draw us to righteousness. It’s our response to it that determines our destiny. And it’s the preachers (worship leaders, Sunday school workers, etc) who hold fast to truth that are truly ministering.
So, what does this mean? (Or… where am I going with this?) The following applications are what I get from this verse:
- As a worship leader, I want to make sure I’m leading in a way that reflects where our congregation is spiritually. I want to choose songs that convey truth in a way that is real to our congregation’s life. Songs that are understandable, memorable, yet spiritually deep.
- Also, I want to make sure that my relationship with God is right. Singing songs that don’t reflect truth in your life is religion, not worship.
- As churches, we need to constantly evaluate our methods in light of truth. Are we doing things just because “that’s the way they’re done” or are we doing things that reflect the reality of everyday life? We truly minister when we meet people where they’re at and apply truth to their lives.
Mostly, I just want to be real. I want to see the life-changing power of God’s truth. I believe that the truth of the gospel is applicable to every situation for every person in every time. I believe that the Church is God’s plan to change the world. I believe that He calls men and women to stand as salt and light in a world hungry for something real. I believe that “something real” is Jesus.
“For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
-3 John 1:3-4 (ESV)