God Needy, People Needy, Network Needy Christians
Why is it important to be a part of a Network? Foundationally, I believe it’s important to be a part of a larger gathering of churches because it is an extension of the Gospel. Let me take a brief moment to unpack that statement. The Gospel message destroys our claims to person autonomy. It declares we are desperately in need of Jesus to deliver us from certain condemnation and death. It teaches we are in need of more than moral reform but we must be gifted a new heart that changes us from the inside out and bears spiritual fruit for the glory of God and the good of others.
We are desperately in need of Jesus to deliver us from certain condemnation and death.
It demands that we are in need of the Holy Spirit to empower us to preach the Gospel to the nations. These are just a few of the ways the Gospel ruins our attempts at personal autonomy and exposes that we are God needy.
On top of this, the Gospel message not only exposes the illusion of our personal autonomy and heralds our God neediness, but it also claims that we are people needy. Not in a manner that diminishes the sufficiency of God or creates unhealthy co-dependencies on others, but instead in a God ordained way that requires our need of other believers for their tutelage, giftings, accountability, prayers and more.
We must be gifted a new heart that changes us from the inside out and bears spiritual fruit.
Personally, I believe the local church is the main playing field for our people neediness. However, I also believe our people neediness can be expanded beyond the scope of the local church to include larger networks of other churches. Just as no man is an island unto himself, in the same way no church is an island unto itself. Local assemblies are in need of the collective wisdom, resources, and care of other churches.
Here are just a few of the ways local churches are in need of a broader gathering of churches:
- Collaboration – learning from one another for mutual edification and God’s glorification
- Resources Pooling – the sharing and/or combining of money, people, equipment, and giftings for greater Kingdom impact
- Ministry Discipleship - Leaders being discipled in ministry by other leaders who possess a wider breadth of ministry experience
- Care – Leaders caring for the health of other leaders and indirectly caring for the health of those they lead
- Atrophy reduction- When local leaders and churches become absorbed in their own mission they become myopic, selfish, and prideful.
- Multiplied Joy- there is greater joy in seeing and being a part of the broader work God amongst the nations
I am certain you could add to this list. After all, I am in need of you to know and experience all of the ways in which the Gospel makes me not only God needy, but YOU needy.
In summary; If you are asking yourself the question “why should I join a network?” or “why should I remain in a network?” your answers should go beyond monies given, connections, relationships, conferences, retreats, and trainings. All of these answers may be relevant but you must have an answer that is more foundational.
The Gospel demands that we are in need of the Holy Spirit to empower us to preach to the nations.
If you apply the “opportunity cost” grid to these you may convince yourself that what you give is not worth what you get. However, if your answer goes back to the Gospel: that you are God needy and people needy, then you will join or remain in a network not because you always see a need for them but because you start with the foundational Gospel truth that you are in need of them.